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Project Details
North Kawartha Community Centre
Apsley, Ontario

Client : Township of North Kawartha
Area : 52,800 sf
Program : Arena, Walking / Running Track, Fitness Centre, Banquet Hall, Multi-Use Community Rooms, Kitchen
Completion : January 2011
The Township of North Kawartha is situated immediately East of the Kawartha Highlands. This is one of Ontario’s most beautiful natural settings, a stone’s throw from acres of glacial rock outcroppings, mature forests, spectacular lakes, marshes and bogs. Although situated at the edge of a picturesque town, the community centre site retains its primeval character, with a 30metre high outcropping of the Canadian Shield as the backdrop for the new facility.
 
The North Kawartha Community Centre functions as both a health and wellness facility, encouraging sport and exercise; and as the social heart of the community, acting as a neighbourhood hub for winter festivals, weddings, seniors clubs, classes, and a meeting place. The facility includes an arena with an NHL-size ice pad and seating for 400, changerooms, public concourse that doubles as a walking track, fitness centre, banquet hall, multipurpose rooms, and administrative space for community organizations.
 
The architectural tradition in the Kawarthas is modest, robust and utilitarian. Regional architecture at this scale is usually agricultural; exposed wood or steel structure, galvanized metal roof systems, large openings, natural light and ventilation. These buildings depend on a direct interaction with landscape. The North Kawartha Community Centre draws from these traditions. Expanses of a simple, double-layered translucent polycarbonate wall system provides diffuse natural light into all the major program areas. Public skating can be run without electric light. Strategically placed glazing takes advantage of orientation and shading, but also invites views in. The sculptural expression is of a simple, canted prism, reminiscent both of a barn and a rock promontory. The courtyard is an inviting cove, providing shad from humid summer heat and shelter from winter winds.
 
The site, as beautiful as it is uncultivated, presents significant challenges to a facility of this scale. As the site had limited access to hydro power, no access to municipal storm or sanitary sewers, and no access to municipal water supply, a self-contained solution was required. The facility includes its own well and water treatment system, settling tanks and a septic field, an underground firefighting cistern, and its own substation. Grading the site was a significant challenge; the building draws its water from, but also is founded over, multiple underground streams, all of which provide drinking water for the community. Most of the storm water management on the site was treated as it would be in nature; a landscape program of strategically placed vegetation (rushes, wet grasses), permeable surface and subsurface treatment, drainage swales and a pond were all part of the design.