Going for the Gold, Again
When you build a recreation center in a town tapped as the world's best city for healthy living—and a past Winter Olympic host—the extra pressure is unavoidable.
Fortunately, the designers of Calgary's Cardel Place were up to the challenge."Everyone rose from the pressure," General Manager Sue Scott says. "We got what everyone wanted to achieve."
According to a 2004 international survey of 144 cities conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Calgary is the world's best city for healthy living. The ranking reflects the city's commitment to ensuring its citizens have access to a broad spectrum of quality-of-life programs and services.
Cardel Place reflects that commitment, with a mandate to "provide an inspiring destination, enriching individual, family, and community lifestyles." The recreation and wellness center serves as a one-stop location, conveniently offering a range of superior programs that meet community needs.
Major elements of the 195,000-square-foot facility include a multi-component aquatic center, fitness and weight centers, a three-court gymnasium, two NHL-size arenas, child-care and food services, a physiotherapy clinic, pro shop, and library. From preschool to adult, the facility offers services ranging from wellness and sports training to day camps, workshops and birthday parties.
"Its fundamental purpose is serving the community," Cannon Design representative David Roach says. "We put their needs first."
In addition to keeping residents' bodies and minds fit, the facility is aiming to help keep the environment healthy, too. During the schematic design phase, the City of Calgary mandated the all municipally funded public facilities had to achieve at least a LEED silver designation.
Cardel Place officials and the design team did even better. They set a goal of LEED Gold, a status bestowed upon only the most eco-conscious designs. The stringent requirements helped the design team generate a solution that enhances the recreation experience instead of being a barrier to functionality. Using extensive glazing, for example, provided dual benefits: It dramatically increased nature's light and external viewing options and lowered energy costs by reducing the need for artificial light.
The facility's mechanical systems also reflect the dual benefits by combining the aquatic and ice facilities under one roof. The move enhances the user experience through ease of use, especially for families with different recreational interests. It also enables the ice rink cooling to be used to dehumidify natatorium air. Heat from the ice plant and the building's cogeneration system is captured and redeployed elsewhere in the facility.
Other sustainable features—including waterless urinals, low-flush toilets and electronic faucets—help save more than one million liters of water a year and contribute to a cleaner facility. Readily accessible public transportation and bicycle storage offer further eco-friendly features.
In the end, the design team created a facility that meets Calgary's high standards and exceeds its expectations.
"The community reaction has been over the top," Scott says. "We have great support from the community and we had a strong year financially. We exceeded our projections."
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