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Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge, Canada

Belying its substantial footprint, this undulating serpentine building, with shimmering brass shingle facades, nestles comfortably into the rolling hills of the northwest corner of Calgary, Canada. Its designers, GEC Architecture, tell us more about their award-winning project.

Responding to Landscape

The Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge is a regional hub of physical activity and a multipurpose gathering space for diverse community and arts programs, health and wellness opportunities, and child care services. Conceived as a low, horizontal form stitched into the landscape, the building expresses and complements the natural contours of the site.

It differs from typical recreation centres in promoting open access to all program elements: a floating running track encircles the public concourse from overhead, adding dynamic energy to each space. All program elements are set beneath a curved, undulating glued-laminated timber roof structure – the largest timber roof in North America – that spans the entire facility, links the spaces together and responds to their individual height requirements.

Handling Complex Geometry

For the ribbon-like façade, containing large curving expanses of glulam-supported high-performance glazing, the flexibility of the brass shingles easily accommodated and accentuated the complex geometry. We also wanted a material that would complement the natural grasses of the surrounding foothills to the Rocky Mountains. We were interested in a material that would develop real depth of colours and would naturally patinate and change over time. Brass proved to have just the right colour range throughout the patination process. And, essentially, brass is beautiful.

Targeting LEED Gold, the facility is taking steps to ensure the greenfield site is carefully enhanced, while continuing to function as habitats for existing wildlife. Integrating the building within its park-like setting provides the community with natural recreation opportunities. Multiple pathways curve throughout the site linking to the regional pathway system and connecting the community to the reconstructed wetland, the recreation facility, and the foothills.

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Building

Owner: 
YMCA Calgary
Completion date: 
2017
Country: 
Canada
Zip code: 
T3G 5H3
City: 
Calgary
Street: 
11300 Rocky Ridge Road NW
Location: 

Categories

Applications: 
Facades
Facades/shingle
Type of building: 
Sport, relaxation facilities
Copper used: 
Brass
Estate: 
New

Architect

Name, office: 
GEC Architecture

Copper contractors

Title: 
Thermal Systems

Awards

Categories: 
Other winner

Find out more

Nick Hay

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