Castle Downs Park Pavilion

ARCHITECT gh3 Architects and Landscape Architects, Kasian Architects Interior Design and Planning Ltd.
LOCATION Edmonton, Alberta

Located in a suburban park, the Castle Downs Park Pavilion unifies a wide range of outdoor recreational facilities and helps imbue them with a collective sense of place. Housing primarily public washrooms and storage facilities, the strong linear form of the building–along with the extension of its primary axis by a path and future viewing platforms–creates an armature for broader spatial organization within the park. Inspired by the pattern of a Hudson’s Bay Company blanket, the coloured bands of east-west datum recall the city’s historic roots while acting as a staging and orientation zone for the diverse users who occupy the site. The iconography of the design evokes Edmonton’s historic trading-post roots in its coloured bands, with green and red bands denoting entry points into the building, while yellow and black bands denote future shelters/viewing platforms.

The path along the north side of the building extends across the breadth of the park. The path is interspersed by the coloured bands of the iconic HBC blanket at each entry point to the building as well as at the locations of future shelters/viewing platforms to the west. Indigenous trees are planted alongside the path to further delineate its presence. Public art installations will be concentrated within the spine, and should have an interactive or dynamic component that echoes the energetic activities of the park.

The building is organized into a punctuated horizontal bar. Storage components are housed in the east module of the building, which are accessed through a bright green entry niche. Further to the west, a second portal offers entry to the remaining program spaces: this vibrant red portal is glazed, allowing views through the building while providing enclosed circulation space for the washrooms, office and maintenance areas of Phase 1, as well as the user-funded programs of Phase 2. By arranging program components into modules around shared portals, the design allows for flexible access, phasing and growth.

Taking a holistic approach to sustainability, the building uses both passive and active strategies to address the challenge of sustainable design. Multiple skylights ensure uninterrupted daylight in winter months and rain-harvesting capabilities address storm-water requirements. Features such as roof-mounted solar panels, and an on-site bio-filter system for reusing grey water help reduce the building’s resource demands. Materials like post-industrial recycled stainless steel and fly-ash concrete help ensure the building’s environmental footprint is further decreased.

Clad in composite stainless steel panels, the façade’s reflective facets mirror the surrounding park, its users, and the changing conditions of the days and seasons. Public washrooms, often bereft of natural light, are glazed with one-way mirrored glass, allowing for both abundant daylight and privacy.

WF A carefully calibrated structure that is part installation, part pavilion and part abstracted artifact. The folded reflective plates multiply and amplify the activities on either side. Coloured portals link the fieldscape on either side, at once concealing and revealing the promise on the other side. Animated and vigorous, it will feed the youthful energy of the place.

DN This pavilion is innovative in its use of material, which will look very interesting against those endlessly long days of summer, mirroring the blue skies and reflecting the sun. The form of the folded plates seems appropriate for this material. I very much like the innovative consideration of what a pavilion in a playground should be.

PS Materially, structurally, formally, artistically pure, this project’s complexity emerges from a programmatic hybridity of sport and art brought into the everyday. A delicious little project, it is encouraging to see work like this amidst a despairing landscape of the beige ideas that are its surrounding ecology. I can only hope every child in the park and in this neighbourhood will be touched by this project in ways that will challenge their status quo.

CLIENT City of Edmonton
ARCHITECT TEAM gh3: Pat Hanson, Diana Gerrard, Raymond Chow, Louise Clavin, Simon Routh, Joel di Giacomo, Byron White, Kamyar Rahimi. Kasian: Vaugh Hoy.
STRUCTURAL Chernenko Engineering
AREA 783 m2