East Lions Community Centre
Client : City of London
Area : 42,200 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (6-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Universal Changerooms), Gymnasium, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Community Kitchen, Administrative and Support Spaces
Associated Architects : a+LiNK
East Lions Park, located in the northeast quarter of London, Ontario, is the site of the future East Community Centre, now under construction. While the park initially contained only the basic elements of an athletics program—a football pitch, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, splash pool, and basic amenities shed—the East Lions Community Centre will provide both indoor and outdoor programs, anchoring the revitalization of the park and promoting new recreational and cultural opportunities to a rapidly changing neighbourhood.
Under MJMA’s plan, the transformed park will retain its tennis courts and soccer pitch but add a basketball court and copious parking—this in addition to the new 42,200-square-foot structure of the Centre itself. Occupying an L-shaped footprint, the two-storey Centre will face the interior of the park with a stately translucent façade; a generous entrance courtyard on the park-facing side is sheltered by three sheer walls, including a curtain wall that visually connects it to the lobby inside. Following phase 2, this courtyard will connect to pedestrian paths that run throughout the park.
Inside, the Centre expands the park’s athletics programming with an aquatics centre—comprising a six-lane, 25-metre lap pool and a leisure pool supported by universal change rooms—and a large gymnasium. An additional complex of rooms, including multipurpose and activity rooms, community kitchen, and art rooms, will provide a new home to the East London Artisans, thereby expanding the park’s programmatic offerings to include not only outdoor sports, but also indoor sports, recreation, and cultural programming as well.
Though an energy-intensive facility, the Centre is targeted for LEED Silver certification, to be achieved by measures such as a 10kW rooftop solar PV array that will link to a didactic LED dashboard display showing visitors the system’s energy-production stats.
When completed, the Centre will become a destination for visitors throughout the neighbourhood and beyond by offering a stimulating, fun and inviting environment capable of hosting a much wider variety of programming—catering to all demographics to promote community-wide recreation, health, culture and learning.