Bostwick Community Centre, YMCA, and Library
Client : City of London
Area : 167,000 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (6-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Changerooms), Twin-Pad Arena (Spectator Viewing Area, Changerooms), Gymnasium, Fitness Studios, Indoor Track, Branch Library, Child Care Centre, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Café, Community Kitchen, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Civic Plaza with Connection to Café, Multi-Use Trails, Playground)
Associated Architects : a+LiNK
The Centre serves three major stakeholders: the City of London, the London Public Library, and the regional YMCA. All three organizations offer amenities within an exceptional facility serving a wide variety of community needs—from a twin-pad hockey arena with a heat-recapture system to multipurpose rooms, studios, a fitness space, a gymnasium and track, a community kitchen, and a two-pool aquatics hall. The Centre is organized to maximize the benefits to each stakeholder, sensitive to their varying hours of operation and service access requirements. Paramount attention was also paid to the public spaces that join the three programmatic areas together to serve as an overarching community hub.
The Centre lies between a neighbourhood of single-family houses and agricultural lands in development, including mid-rise residential towers still underway. The Centre thus serves as a crucial social magnet for a community undergoing rapid growth. To respond to both site and internal program, the Centre was envisioned as a series of four distinct bars running parallel along an east–west axis, across two storeys to maximize the efficiency of the high-performance envelope. The ends of these bars are aligned to form a single façade to the east, but vary in length to the west to define a series of outdoor spaces. Their east–west orientation follows the main access road, making for an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interior plan while allowing the Centre to present a clear face with a strong identity.
With parking concealed at the rear, the front of the site focuses on the eastern end’s main entryway, where the main façade is set back from the access road and optimized for pedestrian access with a sheltered entrance, civic plaza and playground. A secondary entrance emphasizing accessibility services the majority of users, who enter from the rear parking lot. These dual entrances converge on a central unified lobby.
The Centre’s north elevation, facing the main access road, benefits from expansive windows that provide both transparency and indirect daylighting. Further south, saw-tooth skylights also provide northern exposure, ensuring exceptional diffuse lighting throughout the pool hall, gym, fitness centre, and library.
Besides enhancing views from the interior, landscape design is a key factor in the project’s sustainability. Bioswales both clean and regulate the water flow leading into an open storm channel that serves as the headwater for the local watershed, and offers a habitat for protected flora and fauna, including habitat-growing native plantings.