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Guelph Civic Centre Market Square Pavilion

RDH Architects

WINNER OF A 2013 CANADIAN ARCHITECT AWARD OF MERIT

The luminosity of the pavilion is striking against the reflecting pool.
The luminosity of the pavilion is striking against the reflecting pool.

ARCHITECT RDH Architects
LOCATION Guelph, Ontario

The Guelph Civic Square Pavilion is a small structure designed to accommodate changing and rest areas for a skating rink in the winter season and a splash pad in the summer months. Further to this, the pavilion houses a Zamboni machine, mechanical spaces, a water collection cistern and chillers for the ice rink/splash pad, an accessible washroom/change room, public lockers and donor wall recognition.

The project is a single building component situated within the larger context of a civic square landscape design. The architects were brought into the project by a prominent landscape architect to develop the civic square pavilion. The role of architect as subconsultant has given an interesting perspective to the design process. The focus has been one of experimentation within the boundaries of a small-scale architectural object, concentrating on technical innovation and formal exploration.

An image of the elliptical pavilion in Guelph's historic civic context.
An image of the elliptical pavilion in Guelph’s historic civic context.

The pavilion is situated on a civic square located at 1 Carden Street in the heart of historic downtown Guelph, Ontario. The square sits in front of the newly redesigned City Hall building. The pavilion is located on the north side of the City Hall building and to the east of a centrally located reflecting pool/splash pad and ice rink.

Ariel view
Aerial view

The pavilion location accommodates Zamboni access to the water feature to the west and to a civic centre service street to the east. The north edge of the square is framed by an intact section of historic building fabric which will offer significant commercial amenity for the use of future visitors to the square, such as skate rentals, skate sharpening, cafés and restaurants.

An image of the elliptical pavilion in Guelph's historic civic context.
An image of the elliptical pavilion in Guelph’s historic civic context.

The pavilion uses perspective to its advantage to facilitate a dynamic eastern edge counterpoint to the mass of the City Hall building. The luminosity of the new glazed pavilion will help to further accentuate its position on the site and in the city. Beyond the many associated technical functions it accommodates, the essence of this pavilion is as a space of rest and change for users of the amenities offered in the plaza. The pavilion is both a place of refuge from the elements and an urban marker for the newly designed civic square.

Site Plan 1 civic square 2 existing city hall building 3 existing commercial development 4 splash pad/ice rink 5 landscape planters 6 civic square pavilion 7 existing courthouse building
Site Plan 1 civic square 2 existing city hall building 3 existing commercial development 4 splash pad/ice rink 5 landscape planters 6 civic square pavilion 7 existing courthouse building

The driving force behind this design process has been to use the pavilion as a testing ground for formal and material constructional systems which had not previously been used by the office. The explorative process included compound curvature, radiused structural glass products, custom ceramic frit patterning, LED lighting possibilities, and custom hardware components. Some of these elements have been touched on in other projects but in a much less extensive manner and without the same level of explorative rigour. New three-dimensional modelling programs have been utilized and ongoing research with fabricators has led to a much greater understanding of how one can study complex forms and how these forms and materials can be constructed during the building process.

Level 1 1 public entry points to pavilion 2 corridor 3 public lockers 4 washroom 5 barrier-free washroom 6 public lounge space 7 suspended fireplace 8 service stair--access to mechanical spaces 9 Zamboni storage area 10 telecommunications room
Level 1 1 public entry points to pavilion 2 corridor 3 public lockers 4 washroom 5 barrier-free washroom 6 public lounge space 7 suspended fireplace 8 service stair–access to mechanical spaces 9 Zamboni storage area 10 telecommunications room

The conceptual approach of using a small-scale architectural object as a vehicle to study these techniques has been fruitful to this particular project, and with proper communication, will be put to use and further developed in future projects. The project illustrates that an experimental design process can work in step with the development of a civic building project.

Jury Comments

Karen Marler: This is a simple, elegant solution to a simple program. I appreciate how the pavilion contrasts and complements the stone heritage façades. The luminosity of the glass façade is quite beautiful the way it’s been rendered. Imagine a light dusting of snowfall at twilight–it would be lovely.

Marianne McKenna: I like the distinctive illusory stance of the pavilion relative to the solidity of the nearby heritage building which is more massive and opaque. The pavilion has a real transparency as it plays with the ambition to draw glass into a dialogue with water and ice while it transitions from summer to winter.

Marc Simmons: It’s designed with an appreciation of its adjacency to the ice rink, using the reflectivity of either the water or ice to enhance its presence. It becomes more impactful through illumination and reflectivity in its context.

Client City of Guelph
Architect Team Tyler Sharp, Bob Goyeche, Scott Waugh, Carlos Tavares
Structural Halsall Associates Ltd.
Mechanical/Electrical MMM Group
Landscape Janet Rosenberg and Studio
Interiors RDH Architects
Contractor Goetz Construction
Area 2,800 ft2
Budget $1.3 M
Completion Spring 2014

 

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