Fairgrounds Aquatic Park
Client : Township of Strathroy-Caradoc
Area : Building: 4,600 sf Site: 15 Acres
Program : Pavilion (Changerooms, Concession), Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (6-Lane 25m Competition Pool, Leisure Pool, Heated Conversion Pool, Toddler Pool, Lazy River, Water Slide, Spectator Viewing Area, Baseball Diamond, Sports Courts, Picnic Area, Playgrounds)
Within a neighbourhood of single-family residences on the southwest outskirts of Strathroy, Ontario, this large recreational park serves not only its town of 12,000 people, but also the ultra-low-density rural community that surrounds it, totaling 21,000 people across more than 100 square miles. The Park is both a health and wellness destination—encouraging sport and exercise with a range of indoor and outdoor amenities—and a neighbourhood hub that makes up the social heart of the community.
The Park is the result of a 2014 master plan developed to consolidate Strathroy’s recreational programs into one complex, combining lands surrounding the 1954 West Middlesex Memorial Centre into multipurpose fairgrounds. Today, the fairgrounds comprise 15 acres of baseball diamonds, tennis courts, pavilions and picnic areas, the original Arena, and a new Aquatic Park. The latter’s series of connected basins cater to every age group: a six-lane 25-metre competition lap pool with a shaded spectator area, a leisure pool with beach-style entry, a heated conversation pool, a tot pool, a lazy river, numerous water features (including an 18-foot-tall waterslide with a 170-foot run), and a change room pavilion with concession.
The pavilion is, apart from the Arena, the foremost built structure on the fairgrounds, designed to establish the clearest possible connections between the Aquatics zone and the park. Its services are housed inside a row of separate rooms unified under a single sloped canopy; the canopy itself is punctuated by linear polycarbonate skylights running above the corridors that separate the rooms below, filling the pavilion’s internal public spaces with daylight. The canopy is cantilevered to extend far over the pool deck, forming a public verandah where showers are located, and parents can sit to supervise swimming children.
The separation between the pavilions’ individual rooms ensures cross ventilation, as well as views into the meadow to the southeast via a perforated screen and, in the opposite direction, access to the pool deck. The pavilion’s brick walls extend only 2.4 metres from the ground and are topped by vertical cedar slats, matching the canopy’s lining and allowing air to circulate; the pavilion as a whole is sited to optimize both flow-through and solar exposure.
The resulting structure is dry, airy, bright and beautiful, ideally suited for seasonal use as a highly accessible change room and amenity space that enhances enjoyment of all the programs the Park has to offer.