Clayton Community Centre

  • Location

    Surrey, BC

The Clayton Community Centre is designed as a futuristic community centre, combining four aspects of the City of Surrey’s community services—recreation, library, arts and parks in a seamlessly integrated facility. The centre is located in the culturally diverse and rapidly growing neighbourhood of Clayton Heights in Surrey, BC, and is sited between two closely spaced secondary schools. The social fabric of the surrounding context has led to a design that focuses on meeting the needs of youth, while providing key community gathering spaces to support the development of overall community connections.

The four key service offerings, recreation, library, arts and parks, although currently operating through different funding and staffing models, will work collaboratively in this new centre under a new governance structure facilitated as part of the design process. Clayton Community Centre, scheduled to open its doors in 2019, is also designed to achieve Passive House certification, putting it on track to be the first community centre to achieve Passive House in North America and Canada’s largest Passive House facility to date.

The unique mix of spaces combines arts and culture programming including music studios, recording studios and a community rehearsal hall, with recreational activities including a gymnasium and fitness centre, and a branch library. These key services are supported by a range of shared social spaces and a unique mix of supplementary spaces, imagined and developed in close engagement with the community, that are designed to allow for community-led programming to occur. These spaces include a community kitchen and associated community garden, a tool sharing centre with a community workhop, a café, and child-minding, preschool and childcare spaces.

Site and Symbiosis

The building situates itself as an extension of the forest on the site and focuses on these qualities for its design. The roof and building envelope of the new facility mimics the tree canopy to unify the four traditionally separate civic services of arts, library, recreation, and outdoor park underneath the same canopy.

Like a forest canopy, Clayton’s revolutionary leaf-like heavy timber structure is designed as a series of large scale modular interlocking pinwheel units to create a two-way wood structure spanning across large spaces. The interlocking members of the pinwheel components create a tree canopy enveloping all the programmatic spaces of the building under one singular system, metaphorically and structurally gaining its strength by all components being interconnected. Beneath the canopy is a space that strives to be responsive and evolving, both physically and with its activities, a space for unexpected discovery and learning, and a leader in social inclusivity and environmental sustainability as the project is offering fully universal washrooms and change rooms and is targeting Passive House Certification to create a space that redefines a civic centre to serve its diverse and rapidly changing demographic context.

Building Performance

The facility has an ambitious sustainability goal of achieving Passive House Certification, a high-performance building standard that maximizes comfort, affordability and energy efficiency. It seeks to maximize energy efficiency as well as protection of natural ecosystems. The building’s unique compact form benefits both the programmatic aspects of the building and passive house targets by minimizing the surface area of the floor, walls, and roof relative to the volume of the building that needs to be heated and cooled.

Design Process