South Oshawa Community Centre
Client : City of Oshawa
Area : 45,400 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (3-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Fitness Pool, Changerooms), Gymnasium, Fitness Studios, Dance Studios, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Youth Rooms, Teaching Kitchen, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Terrace
Completion : October 2006
When the South Oshawa Community Centre opened in 2006, it marked the end of a 25-year wait for a facility that could serve the community’s recreational needs. To accommodate the widest possible spectrum of users in a neighbourhood that leans toward young and low-income families and youth—particularly students from the high school next door—the Centre’s prime design drivers were accessibility and social engagement.
With that in mind, the interior plan emphasizes connection, shared facilities, and programming that appeals to a wide range of users—dance studios, a fitness studio, cooking classrooms, an aquatics hall, and fully equipped youth amenities to encourage young members to embrace ownership of the Centre. Throughout, the interior finishes—glass, wood, tile, and stained concrete block—are robust and durable, selected to maximize the sense of lightness.
Sited within a large suburban district of single-family residences, next to a park on the shore of Lake Ontario and adjacent to a vocational school, the Centre’s massing responds to both its residential neighbours and the lakeshore in the form of two sloping volumes, one small and one large.
The smaller volume, clad in standing seam metal and pale grey brick, steps down in the direction of the residences to the north, and is partially sunk below grade to keep the roofline as low as possible. The larger volume, to the south, is clad in matching perforated metal screening that tucks under the roof plane to frame views, provide a protective canopy for pedestrians below, and filter daylight entering the building; this, combined with deep skylight wells, light shelves and motorized canopies strategically and evenly distribute light throughout the building, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. This larger volume rises as it approaches the lakeshore, ending in a double-height cantilever whose fully glazed face offers views that overlook the park and the lake beyond it. Behind this glazed wall is the two-storey aquatics hall and, on the third floor, the fitness centre, which capitalizes on views of both aquatics hall and park.
The Centre also serves as the base for Oshawa’s Waterfront Trail, providing parking and washroom facilities at the trailhead. Since its opening, the community has readily adopted ownership of the Centre and the sense of civic pride it brings; according to a City program supervisor, the Centre has “exceeded every expectation.”