UniQuad Makes a Big Impact for Two New Aquatics Centers

Light Plays a Big Role at Two New Aquatic Centers in Suburban Vancouver, BC

Surrey, BC is a small but growing suburban community outside of Vancouver that is growing into a more fully equiped modern city. The city leaders tasked Bing Thom Architects and Hughes Condon Marler Architects with designing two new cultural hubs for the city, public aquatic centers, to tie into the city’s love for fun and fitness.

These community indoor swimming pools offer up some design challenges though, with the biggest being height for water slides and high dives and a large open span for the pool.

Grandview Heights Aquatic Center

Guildford-Aquatic-Centre-Grandview-Heights-Aquatic-Centre-01Hughes Condon Marler Architects designed the Grandview Heights Aquatic Center with an Olympic sized swimming pool, diving platforms, a leisure pool with water slide, hot tubs, a sauna, and steam room and a weight room all completely filled with light. HCMA created a roof shaped like an ocean wave that operates like a suspension bridge to keep the building free of support beams allow for the walls to be covered in CPI’s UniQuad product.

This very impressive building features 12,700 sq ft of UniQuad Translucent Walls with heights up to 50 feet. The wall panels are a major focal point of the aquatic center and a majority of the light comes from the translucent walls and they add to the visual drama of the space.

Guildford Aquatic Center

Guildford-Aquatic-Centre-Grandview-Heights-Aquatic-Centre-07Bing Thom Architects went with skylights instead of wall lights to bring natural light into the Guildford Aquatics Center. The aquatic center is an addition to an existing athletic center and BTA designed it to hold a competition lap pool, and a family pool with water slide and the always important lazy river.

The Guildford center uses preformed concrete slabs as the walls, the polar opposite of the translucent panels and glass walls of the Grandview Heights Aquatic Center. So to bring in the light and add visual interest to the shoe box shaped building BTA used long wooden trusses and coupled with skylights. The trusses serve a dual purpose as well, they contain the mechanical and sprinkler systems and are large enough to allow maintenance workers to walk through them. The skylights cast striped light and shadow across the eastern wall with the afternoon sun, creating visual patterns and interest while letting in daylight.

Both Aquatic Center’s use daylight to create impact and visual interest, but rely on different methods to achieve their results. Which do you like better? Which product would you rather use? Let us know in the comments!

Read the full architectual article here:

Making a Splash

Photos by Ema Peters.

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