Architects: Group2 Architecture Interior Design
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Project Team: Dave Cheetham (PIC), Troy Smith (Project Architect), Kim Berry, Chrisitie Moore, Steve van der Meer, Eugene Gyorfi
Area: 407 sqm
Photographs: Jim Dobie
Structural Engineering: Group2 Architecture Engineering
Landscape: Eidos Consulting
Construction Manager: Jen-Col Construction
The City of Edmonton has a rich history of public pavilions located within the river valley and its extensive park space. The most notable, the Hawrelak Park pavilions designed in the late 1960’s by Bittorf Wensley Architects, reflect the landscape through their organically-shaped concrete columns, glued-laminated wood beams and wood-shingled roofs. The new Queen E Pool will continue this tradition. The new facility is tied to the landscape of Edmonton’s river valley. The building’s careful siting, pavilion like form, simple construction and materiality recall the rustic spirit of the original pool, and tie the new building into the landscape of the North Saskatchewan River valley park system.
The Queen E Pool is located along side several mature existing deciduous and coniferous trees and as well as a landscaped berm which provide a connection to the natural surroundings and visual privacy. The pool and deck are oriented to the sun, while the pavilion acts as a windbreak for the pool user.
As a visitor approaches the building through the trees, they are welcomed by the public gesture of a large covered porch at the entry courtyard of the facility. The pool house pavilion is organized under the floating wood and steel roof around a central circulation zone that allows for easy orientation and organization of spaces.
Sight lines are clear to the pool, the facility entry and change rooms to enhance safety and security and services are grouped together for economy. The changing rooms are flexible to allow for changing patterns of use, and separate washroom facilities are provided to serve the park itself, which will enhance activities outside the pool.
Major elements of the facility include:
- 25 m, six lane outdoor pool with a ramped beach entry
- 14 piece spray park, designed to reduce water use with the inclusion of a re-circulation system
- Large concrete and wood deck surfaces all placed among the major trees of Kinsmen Park
- Summer pavilion with no mechanical heating or cooling for change rooms, washrooms or staff facilities
- Toilet amenities serve the pool and the entire park
- Spaces for staff, storage and services
The pool and spray park are sited to take advantage of the surrounding park amenities such as the existing softball diamonds to the north, the Kin Park located to the west, the existing parking located to the north and east, and the existing service road which rings the Kinsmen Sports Centre complex. The successful completion of this project unites various elements of the site into one coherent complex.
The new facility is located adjacent to the Kinsmen Sports Centre, and existing parking within the Kinsmen Park site. The pool and surrounding buildings fit between existing trees and services in a natural shallow bowl of land, therefore minimizing the disturbance of the site caused by construction. The entry to the building is signaled by the mass of the building volumes as well as the roof lines that project above the trees on the site. The user is drawn into the entrance porch by way of a long retaining/seating wall and bold signage. The pool pavilion is located to the north of the 25m pool in order to act as a windbreak and provide a bookend to the mature tree line to the south of the pool. To the west of the QE Pool, outside of the pool fence line, a new 14 piece free access spray park is located.
The pool pavilion is organized into two volumes, one that houses the majority of the user facilities (change rooms, washrooms, showers and lockers) as well as the pool mechanical spaces and the other that houses the main day to day staff areas, consisting of the staff/first aid room, the admission/concession and deck storage.
As a pool user approaches the QE Pool a large porch under a floating wood and metal roof welcomes visitors, and serves as a gathering space and waiting area adjacent to the entry. The ticketing and concession area is located adjacent, and has controlling views across the entrance to the pool, the pool deck and the change rooms. Through the entry, the change facilities are located on the right of a circulation zone that organizes the spaces of the building and allows for simple way finding. The change area is comprised of one large space with a series of individual change cubicles. The cubicles each have low clearance and no gaps between the door and the frame, to ensure privacy. The change cubicles vary in size to accommodate individuals, families with small children or a person in a wheelchair with an attendant. Separate male and female washrooms are adjacent to the change zone and showers provided on the pool deck for ‘bathing suit required’ showering. Schools, which are one of the facility’s major users, appreciate the set up that allows one teacher to supervise both genders of students at the same time. Upon reaching the deck area, bathers are covered by a south facing sun shading trellis. Lockers and Showers are located on deck in order to provide convenient access for all users. An outdoor party area is located at the west end of the building.
After hours the building can be closed off by a series of wooden sliding and swinging doors. For example, two large wood sliding doors close off the admission desk as well as the main entrance to the pool to ensure that the pool compound is secure during evening hours or during the eight and a half months of the year that the pool is not operating.