Bostwick Community Centre, YMCA, and London Public Library

Location: London, Ont.
Architect: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Ltd. in association with A+LINK Architecture Inc.

OAA Design Excellence Awards Finalist

The Bostwick Community Centre, YMCA, and Public Library has become the new social heart of this expanding peripheral community in London, Ont. The 167,000-sf facility includes a twin-pad arena, multipurpose rooms, studios, fitness space, a gymnasium, indoor track, community kitchen, and a two-basin natatorium. The design maximizes benefit for each of the facility’s partners, recognizing the variety of operational issues specific to each, including hours of operation, levels of service access, and zones beyond check-in areas. Particular focus was placed on the public spaces, defining the facility as a true community hub.
Envisioned as a series of four distinct bars, a clear and simple parti drove the planning of the building, integrating the City’s diverse program and partners along the sites east-west axis. With bar lengths varying to the east, the site plan formulates a series of defined exterior spaces and strong entry condition, serving to connect interior and exterior programming to the central social arrivals plaza in a clear and meaningful way.
A two-storey compact plan effectively minimizes heat loss. Large glazed walls and skylights predominately face north, providing ideal indirect natural daylight while harvesting and electronic light switches reduce the need for artificial light. Waste heat from the arena refrigeration cycle is captured and reused to preheat water, as well as delivering in-floor heating across key program areas. The high-performance building envelope exceeds code, yielding saving in energy and a reduced carbon footprint. On the exterior, natural bioswales regulate flow and cleanse water before being directed to the site’s storm channel and headwater of the local watershed.
Considerable focus was placed on programming and animating the central public space. Each of the facility’s partners face into the main lobby, activating the ‘town square.’ The upper track and fitness areas open to the lobby and energize the space, while a transparent community kitchen brings food to the heart of all gatherings. A social bleacher delivers users upstairs, with stepped social and touch-down spaces focused toward the pool and courtyard; it doubles as a place for public presentations, extending library use and community functions. Smaller ‘living rooms’ provide opportunities for lingering and encouraging social interaction.

Image Credit: Doublespace Photography

Image Credit: Shai Gil

Image Credit: Doublespace Photography
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