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Web Exclusive: Meadowvale Community Centre and Library

Just outside Toronto, the new Meadowvale Community Centre and Library by Perkins+Will rethinks what true accessibility means in 2017.

April 6, 2017
by Canadian Architect

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

Overlooking Lake Aquitaine, the new Meadowvale Community Centre and Library by Perkins+Will was built to replace an existing centre that could no longer meet the needs of the surrounding community.

The former 1970s centre was roughly half the size of this new one, which combines the previously offsite library with a more flexible and forward-thinking amenity mix that includes gender neutral change-rooms, therapy and leisure pools, a 3-D printer, kitchen, large programming spaces, fireplaces, a green roof, and outdoor patio spaces overlooking Lake Aquitaine. 

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

For design team Perkins+Will, accessibility was threaded into the architectural vision from the offset, resulting in a barrier-free design that promotes inclusivity for a diverse mix of groups well into the future. Elevating the relationship between accessibility and design, Meadowvale offers not only physical, but also economic and physiological access. Contrast between white walls and dark floors provides assistance for those with visual impairments, while also being aesthetically striking. Perkins+Will also recognized that designing to promote inclusivity helps to alleviate growing isolation felt by the community’s older adult population.

Flexibility also played a role in the architectural vision. Perkins+Will created versatility though swing spaces, while an easy-to-navigate layout of amenities eliminates the need for signage.

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

Photo: Lisa Logan Photography

Green features also played a key role in the design mandate. The green roof addition contains an integrated irrigation system, allowing storm water to be collected and used for toilets and plants. Excess water is filtered through permeable areas of the parking lot into a rock garden on the perimeter. Meanwhile, the large coloured fins on the outside of building areas reduce solar gain without inhibiting light.

These sustainable innovations helped the centre achieve a LEED silver certification and assist with promoting sustainable practices to those who live in the community.