"The number three seems to have a particular significance, relevant in some strange ways to the relation between man and nature."
--Erno Rubik, Hungarian, Architect, Sculptor, Professor and creator of the Rubix Cube
The primary intention of the design for the John Fry Sports Park Amenities Buildings was to explore the relationship between the building and its surroundings and between the building users and the landscape. The Rubix Cube was used as a precedent, not for its formal qualities but the intelligence and strategy of navigating. It is cheeky. It is smart. It is fun. It is a puzzle. There are moves to make but also surprises and discoveries along the way. Considering the context of the site, being set amongst acres of industrial and big box uses, one of the main design ideas was to break down the monolith of the 'box'. It is the negotiation of that monolith into a manageable scale that makes it human and interactive.
It is therefore not only about the object, but the spaces between those objects, how we navigate between those objects and through those objects on all 3 axes, whether that be the 3 axes of the Rubix Cube or the datums of ground, structure, sky. This was explored through changes in elevation of both landscape and building, playing with scale, and treating the space between the buildings which holds the 'objects' in place as primary to the buildings themselves. The buildings both sink into and rise out of the ground plane as the landscape slopes in either direction to suit.
Overall the site slopes upward to the central gathering area, offering attractive views over the whole park and its activities. The interior environments open to the outdoor green spaces and rooftop gardens, benefiting from natural light and passive ventilation, and an overall integration of both inside/ outside and building/ landscape. The intention of the design is to use the material, formal, and structural qualities of a typical 'big box store' in ways that are intelligent, thoughtful, and unique. Therefore, the buildings have a simple structure of concrete block and steel framing with finishes that are long-lasting and durable such as paint and rubber flooring. The excitement
comes in the boldly coloured interior and the seamless transition of materials from ground plane to the vertical wall plane. Each volume benefits from daylighting through one fully glazed facade and other punched openings for window and skylights. At night, each volume glows from the interior, illuminating the site with a playful dance of colour and light offering safety and wayfinding. Colour is also used as a wayfinding technique during the day through signage and naming, ie: "the blue change rooms".
By dictating the space between the volumes as just as important as the volumes themselves, these spaces became the transition areas for events such as farmer's markets and music festivals, as well as for casual gathering of teams, or more intimate spaces for simply reading a book or observing the activities.
"Building implies and evokes optimism: we are able to build only to the degree that we have confidence in the future. Pessimistic or nihilistic construction is necessarily a preparation for the apocalypse. Construction also implies the projection of beliefs and ideals. We can only build as far as we attempt to build a better and more humane world."
-- Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect, Author
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- Presentation Panel