Launch Slideshow

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Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex

Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex

  • Exterior

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    Exterior

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Exterior

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Site Plan

  • Massing study comparing building profile to existing neighborhood fabric.

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    Massing study comparing building profile to existing neighborhood fabric.

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Massing study comparing building profile to existing neighborhood fabric.

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

  • Because of its sloped site, several of the sports and recreation facilities at the Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex (including the aquatics center, seen at right) are nestled into the hillside. Switchback pathways allow visitors to travel up and over the building to the two-story volume at the top of the site.

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    Because of its sloped site, several of the sports and recreation facilities at the Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex (including the aquatics center, seen at right) are nestled into the hillside. Switchback pathways allow visitors to travel up and over the building to the two-story volume at the top of the site.

    600

    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Because of its sloped site, several of the sports and recreation facilities at the Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex are nestled into the hillside. Switchback pathways allow visitors to travel up and over the building to the two-story volume at the top of the site.

  • Section showing stepped green roofs.

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    Section showing stepped green roofs.

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Section showing stepped green roofs.

  • Exploded Axonometric

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    Exploded Axonometric

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    Courtesy Cannon Design

    Exploded Axonometric

SiteAn edge-of-downtown tract in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, with a three-story drop toward the Grand River basin to the south.

Program A community center with facilities that include gyms, a pool, a variety of fitness spaces, classrooms, offices, a lounge, and a café.

SolutionThe Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex, designed by the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, office of Cannon Design, is sponsored by community and university organizations, with support from local, provincial, and national governments. The design for the 15,100-square-meter (162,535-square-foot) complex addresses key urban-design objectives: opening vistas over the nearby river basin, developing a new pedestrian route up and down the escarpment, and recalling the line of commercial fronts that previously characterized the site. (The last of these is of particular resonance because the site only became available when the city demolished a row of buildings on an otherwise built-up commercial street.)

The jurors emphasized the project’s positive urban contributions, which—predicted juror Ann Beha—“will make a huge difference in this place.” At the street level at the top of the sloped site, the building reads as only a two-story volume, containing a lobby, a retail café, and fitness studios. At this level, the bar structure more than a block long is visually divided in the irregular rhythm of the former storefronts. Gyms, pool, and related facilities are recessed into the slope. Green roofs, which are accessible to the public, cover the volumes embedded in the hillside. Juror Mary-Ann Ray appreciated that all of this was achieved without altering the scale of the neighborhood. “It brings a historical neighborhood into the 21st century in a way. It sort of modernizes the city.”


Project Credits

Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic Complex, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Client  Wilfrid Laurier University and YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
Architect  Cannon Design, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada—Andrew King (design principal); Darryl Johnson (project designer); Helen Pang, Zsofi Schvan-Ritecz, Winston Chong, Jeffrey Ma (design team); Ross Carter-Wingrove (project manager)
Architecture/Project Team  Robert J. Johnston, AIA (project principal); David Hewko (project programmer)
Cost Consulting  BTY Group—Mark Ravelle
Size  15,100 square meters (162,535 square feet)