Resting between non-descript industrial buildings, criss-crossed by nign voltage wires, nestled in unruly grass fields, John Fry Park is not what usually comes to mind when thinking of a municipal recreation space. Yet the sublime and atmospheric beauty of all these elements is what first attracted us to the site. When thinking about designing this pavilion, our thoughts were of countless games held here in perfect or inclement weather under the bright field lights, laughter and commiseration mixing in the air. We thought of the memories shared by a community, and of those that gather here to share in a joint passion for sport.
The City of Edmonton's vision for the site is an opportunity to strengthen a sense of community and conviviality, as the park grows to accommodate more uses and users. As future baseball diamonds are built to the north of the site, and roadway connections are made to the east, the pavilion will need to bring users together from all corners of the park. Our proposal strives to maintain the strongly recognizable geometry currently on site, while creating a space of congregation, a value-added venue. We see this pavilion as a palimpsest of the current site; in effect a relic that functions as a shelter, a place of gathering.
By placing the building's mass at the north and east perimeter, strong but permeable edges face the vast openness of John Fry Park, while enclosing what is currently the baseball diamond playing field, flanked to the south and west by existing trees. This "L" shape pavilion allows for ease of phasing, with the ability to build the arms separately, should it be required. By depressing the plaza contained within the site, an informal amphitheatre is created. This space allows groups to congregate between games, and acts as formal seating during events. Viewed from north and east, the pavilion's form and colour present in the patina of the weathering steel cladding, allow it to establish a polite yet solid presence in the landscape, one that is enriched over time. Viewed from the south and west, the pavilion opens up, demarcating a distinct plaza.
The northern arm opens up to the south allowing for generous natural light to flood the programmed rooms stretched along its length. With circulation taking place along this edge of the building, a vibrant covered porch is created, reinforcing the communal experience of the park. The east arm creates a filter between the parking lot and the amphitheatre space. This phase is composed primarily of team change rooms, where the athlete's experience is further heightened by emerging across a grade change, into to the park, then to battle on the sports field.
The pavilion recognizes the existing fabric of John Fry Park. The dominant form of the baseball diamond is maintained but its constituent parts are reinterpreted to house the building's program and to provide an outdoor space with broader public appeal. While the program for the new project is not explicit on the provision for additional outdoor space, a careful reading of the park's character suggests this requirement. The strategy of the pavilion design easily facilitates this opportunity and in fact is improved through an integral relationship to the new amphitheatre space. The role of the pavilion is therefore expanded to promote gathering and organization within the larger park fabric, integrating into Edmonton's role as a host to a large number of festivals and events.
It is proposed that the pathways within this plaza be made of permeable paving, with the exception being accessibility ramps, and paved surfaces that extend over the buildings foundation. Rainwater draining towards the amphitheatre will be collected for reuse in internal non-potable uses. The open courtyard is to be planted with a mixture of native grasses to reduce the need for irrigation and as well as dedicated areas of conventional planting where high traffic is expected.
Careful attention has been paid to sustainable building practices. In addition to the above-mentioned natural lighting strategy and the projected minimal mechanical systems required, additional areas such as solar water heating, rainwater harvesting, site safety and landscape design are considered. Further design of the project will analyze the viability of the ground source heating as well as solar electricity for building use.
The building has been designed paying careful attention to sustainable principles and is projected to exceed LEED silver requirements (see appendix 1). Further, the project adheres to the City of Edmonton's documents for sustainable design, guidelines for universal accessibility and the principles of the Edmonton Design Committee.
(Competitor's text excerpt)
Citation: Sturgess Architecture
This submission generated a lot of discussion among the jury. The technical advisor recommended that it would be difficult to build this project within the budget given the amount of exterior wall surface and the required earthwork excavation. On the other hand, the overall design and the proposed exterior amphitheatre were praised for their visibility and practical utility. The building has an appropriately robust response to its setting. The graphics of this submission were appealing.
(From the jury report)
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- Presentation Panel