Whitchurch-Stouffville Leisure Centre
Client : Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
Area : 32,000 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (25m Lap Pool, Fitness Pool, Toddler Pool, Changerooms), Fitness Centre, Dance Studios, Branch Library.
Completion : January 2001
In the northeast quarter of the Greater Toronto Area, Whitchurch-Stouffville is a town of 46,000, the second-fastest growing municipality in the region; here, the number of private dwellings doubled from 2001 to 2016, and the population is expected to grow another 50% by 2031. At the heart of this exurban town, the Whitchurch-Stouffville Community Centre provides a wide range of amenities to serve its rapidly growing population.
MJMA’s involvement with the Centre began with the master planning of the central park area, ensuring that the major public halls were well-connected to the exterior landscaped gardens, and their orientation optimized to take in views of the surrounding park. These halls, which constitute a hybrid community centre, present a unified face to Park Drive, the access road to the east, and are consolidated by a simple material palette of pale grey brick and grey panels, with large windows and a frosted curtain wall. Located adjacent to the entryway, this curtain wall glows at night, drawing visitors toward the main entrance where a large cantilevered canopy ushers them in to an open lobby shared by all three halls. To the north, behind the frosted curtain wall, lies a gallery space; behind it, to the northwest, is the aquatics hall. To the southwest, the branch library and community centre encircle an open central courtyard fronted by windows that light the core of the building.
Within the aquatics hall is a 25-metre lap pool and a shallow-water teaching and children’s pool, all topped by a roof of timber beams and planks that rises dramatically to the east, where a row of towering clerestories floods the pool area with natural light. Along the aquatics hall’s western elevation, at-grade windows look out onto the fields at the rear of the building.
Nearly 13,000 square feet of the Centre’s 32,000-square-foot interior are turned over to the fully digital community library and resource centre, at the southernmost end of the structure; toward the middle, adjacent the entrance, is the community centre. The Centre’s second phase—which includes a gymnasium, a fitness and training facility, exercise rooms, and dance / aerobic classrooms—extends to the west.