The Multiplex

Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Barr Ryder Architects & Interior Designers in Edmonton, Alberta

Project Cost: $109 million

Quick Tour:

  • Aquatic center
  • Fieldhouse
  • Fitness center

The need for better recreational opportunities in the city of Grand Prairie in Alberta, Canada, resulted in the construction of The Multiplex—a facility that offers amenities and programs for both the general public and organized athletic clubs.

The new facility came to be after thorough research in Grand Prairie determined that existing facilities in the area needed better opportunities in aquatics and dry land recreation. So, an aquatics center—that includes an adventure river and diving tower—was built; as well as a fieldhouse, running track and fitness/wellness area—catering to the needs of both the public and those interested in competitive athletics.

One of the advantages of The Multiplex is the fact that it enables drop-in users to use the facility any time it is open, while the organized athletic clubs and program users can take advantage of competition venues without pressure from drop-in users.

The new facility acts as a bridge between the existing arena and the gymnastics center, which allows for shared use, occupation and collaboration of the building. Meanwhile, adjacent to The Multiplex is a Catholic high school and current design of a public high school located on the same site—providing further availability and accessibility during school hours.

The facility's innovative design also includes the needs of the operators. For instance, a full basement was built into The Multiplex to enable maintenance staff to operate the facility at the high level that is required by such a complex building. The basement area, along with the stainless steel pool system, helped create a state-of-the-art facility for maintenance, operations and use.

To help contribute to the natural ambiance of the facility, natural daylight was emphasized through the design. Maximum daylight was accentuated, all while ensuring that the facility was free of glare and hotspots. Also, clerestory, translucent glazing and capturing north light were used to help immerse areas of The Multiplex with a natural feel.

In the aquatics center, prehistoric themes were designed—using realistic and animated dinosaurs—while other areas of the aquatics center accommodate activities for all ages. For instance, the design concept for the swimming pool makes it appealing for both the young and the elderly. To cater to the teen population, a surf machine was added to the pool design.

Finally, building articulation and glazing were used to enable users who are approaching the facility to see into the building, thus, engaging them even before they actually enter. The immense size and combination of new to existing structures advocated for a boulevard concept, to organize activities and allow ease of identification, expectation and wayfinding. Beginning from the reception desk and moving through the facility, users feel included in the activity within, with views to the entire facility.


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