Render of people walking in front of the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre

təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre

Location

New Westminster, BC

Aquatic facilities are vital to a vibrant community. təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre is designed to foster connection, offering safe and welcoming spaces for the community to swim, play, work-out, socialize, and experience nature.

The design was driven by a two-year community engagement process, prioritizing accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, as well as the flexibility to future-proof the facility. The centre includes a four-pool aquatic centre with sauna and steam rooms, universal washrooms and change rooms, a fitness centre, gymnasia, community rooms, licensed childcare, administrative offices, as well as significant new plazas and greenspaces.

Completed in May 2024, təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre is Canada’s first Zero Carbon Building - Design certified aquatic centre, completely eliminating building fossil fuel combustion, and aiming for a 92% reduction in GHG emissions compared to the existing facility.

The client

The City of New Westminster’s strong vision for this project was shaped by extensive community engagement.

This process not only developed the programmatic components and phasing approach, but also created an understanding of what really matters to the community in New Westminster, including key stakeholder groups like the Indigenous community.

The feeling of welcome and belonging, inclusivity, flexibility, and environmental sustainability were key values that came to light through this process.

Rendering of outside entrance to təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre surrounded by nature.
Rendering of indoor entrance to təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre. It showcases a beautiful wooden spiral staircase.
Site and context

The presence of the Glenbrook Ravine was formative to the design of the facility and its surrounding park. In the 1960s, the segment of the ravine that originally crossed the project site was infilled around a Metro Vancouver sewer line, 8m below grade.

Through sensitive site planning, the design creates a significant south-facing greenspace and rain garden that reconnects the former ravine headwaters with the walking trails and ravine park beyond. This greenspace is a nod to the deep ravine that once existed there and reintroduces hydrology and on-site stormwater management to integrate the project more seamlessly with its ecological context.

When completed, this greenspace will offer outdoor recreation opportunities through cycling and walking paths, plazas for social gathering, and lawn space for informal play.

Design response

Architecturally, the design unifies building components that have very different programmatic requirements with one clear roof expression, while giving each component a unique identity that is specific to its use (high ceilings in the gymnasium, for instance, vs. the lower ceilings in administrative offices, or the high-volume pool area vs. smaller scale childcare spaces).

The building plan is anchored around a large, free-to-access community atrium, which becomes the civic heart of the site. This community living-room space is filled with natural daylight, offers views of active program spaces, and is flexible enough to be used for significant community celebrations or to simply relax and enjoy a coffee from the café.

Rendering of Indoor pool with slanted wood planks along the ceiling

Recognition

CAGBC Zero Carbon Building - Design Certified

Pursuing LEED v4 Gold Certification

Pursuing Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification - Gold

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