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Les Chater Family YMCA (2009)

03 Oct 2016
Image Credit: Perkins + Will Canada Inc.
Architectural Credit: Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners (now Perkins + Will Canada Inc.) in association with Garwood-Jones & Hanham
Location: Hamilton, ON
Architects: Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners (now Perkins + Will Canada Inc.) in association with Garwood-Jones & Hanham
Date of completion: 2009
Nominated by:  Monique Taylor, MPP (Hamilton Mountain)
Situated in the border of three of Hamilton’s South Mountain neighbourhoods, on the divide between suburban development and green fields, the Les Chater Family YMCA is an important new addition to these ever-developing communities – part of a city-led effort to provide a new community hub to the growing population in the area.

Photo Courtesy of Perkins + Will Canada Inc.
More than just a gym, the Les Chater Family YMCA forms part of the much larger Hamilton South Mountain Complex which includes the YMCA’s aquatic centre, gym, health enhancement area, change rooms, mutli-use areas, child care centre, and café – as well as a police station, skate park, playground, and library.  Throughout the complex, a similar architectural vocabulary and scale is used – helping unify the distinct elements of the site. 
Architecturally, the YMCA and library are envisioned as a single building – both programs separated by a central circulation spine which allows framed views into both the pool and reading rooms. The café acts as a mediating program between both areas of the building, and additional seating spills out from the library to provide a shared space for conversation and gathering. 

Photo Courtesy of Perkins + Will Canada Inc.
Inside, the YMCA’s success lies in its ability to provide the perfect facilities for sport and play without drawing excessive attention to extravagant architectural prowess. Throughout the complex, light is carefully regulated through the use of clerestory windows – a solution that provides both privacy and light.  Rooms vary in height to accommodate the diverse programming – from single storey to three storeys in height. A warm but durable material palette makes the spaces welcoming but easy to maintain. 

Photo Courtesy of Perkins + Will Canada Inc.
Recognizing the importance of sports and recreation to the development of a healthy city, the Les Chater Family YMCA provides the perfect backdrop for the community to grow, engage and play.
This post forms part of our World Architecture Day Queen’s Park Picks 2016 series in which we asked Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament to nominate a prominent building, past or present, in their riding for a chance to learn more about it. Check out the rest of the series to learn more about Ontario’s great architecture.  

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