Burnaby Lake Aquatic and Arena Facility

  • Location

    Burnaby, BC

The new Burnaby Lake Aquatic & Arena Facility will be a destination recreation centre at the heart of Burnaby Sports Complex in B.C., Canada.

Designed to enhance health and wellness for the community, the new centre will encourage participation for people of all ages, abilities, genders, and cultures, while leading the way in sports excellence.

Respecting its role as a custodian of the land, the new Burnaby Lake Aquatic & Arena Facility is also designed to enhance its unique local ecosystem—becoming a leader in sustainable operations for the City of Burnaby.

From casual play to sporting excellent

Replacing the aging Burnaby Lake Arena and CG Brown Pool—while maintaining the Bill Copeland spectator arena—the new facility will include a NHL-sized ice rink, a destination aquatic centre, and various informal gathering and play areas.

The aquatic centre includes a ten lane Olympic-sized pool, with a moveable floor and bulkheads that enable competition, training, and community swimming. Seating for 750 spectators—with capacity for an additional 250 seats — brings atmosphere to formal events, while three diving platforms—one-metre, three-metre, and five-metre heights—add to the sense of theatre.

But the aquatic facility isn’t just for competition. A six lane, 25-metre pool, a leisure pool, a family-sized hot pool, a wellness zone, sauna, and steam rooms all welcome community participation. All amenities are fully accessible through ramps and lifts, and universal washrooms and gender neutral change rooms are available throughout the building.

Beyond the pools, a café and atrium with views into both arena and aquatic program spaces provide important social spaces and contribute to the new facility being a welcoming space for people to meet up, hang out, and relax.

Inspired by the history of Burnaby Lake

Our design is influenced by the history of Burnaby Lake, a former wetland and Indigenous fishing place to the west of the site. The lake was infilled by settler’s activities, before being dredged to allow for recreation and rowing events. Over time, nature reclaimed the lake, changing it back to a seasonal marshland with salmon returning to their habitat.

Inspired by this tension between man-made activity and nature, we designed the building as a series of forms placed within the landscape, separated and sculpted over time.

Each large volume contains the formal programmatic elements—the arena and each of the pools—with ‘natural’ spaces in-between for the informal program elements—the hot pools, universal change rooms, wellness features, and shared social spaces.

Large glazing offers expansive views across Burnaby Lake Park, again with the intention of connecting visitors to the surrounding landscape.

Environmental performance

The new Burnaby Lake Aquatic and Area Facility will be one of the lowest carbon emission buildings of its type in Canada, producing just 6kg/CO2/m2/yr.  

To allow the facility to become carbon neutral by 2030, our design includes all-electric building systems, a highly efficient envelope, and water management. The building draws electricity exclusively from BC Hydro, diverts 90% of construction waste from landfill, and reuses rainwater to top up the pool. Heat recovery between the ice rink and swimming pool further reduces carbon emissions, while extensive bioswales help manage stormwater runoff and protect the water quality of the Burnaby Lake ecosystem. 



Design Process