The City of Toronto and Toronto Public Library selected our team to provide an addition to the existing community centre and to expand the existing library. We developed a strategy that rationalizes the two disparate programs and allows each to have their own distinct floor area and identity. In addition, this solution offers a significant capital and operational savings for the client. During the initial design phase, the client expanded the project by requesting that we add a new childcare wing.
Working with the three clients (Parks and Rec, Childcare and TPL), the local councillor and the community advisory board, we successfully guided a dynamic design process. The final design includes phasing of construction to accommodate the group’s operational schedules and represents a solution that balances concerns such as preservation of parkland, sustainability and budget.
Replacing the undersized, existing gymnasium at the Jenner Jean-Marie Community Centre was part of a complex renovation and expansion that involved working with three clients (two City of Toronto departments and the Toronto Public Library) and infilling what was already a tight site. The only location for the new, larger gym was at the north edge of the site, which was far from ideal in terms of drawing natural light into the space. We were able to overcome this obstacle through the carefully considered placement of a courtyard inserted between the gym and the community centre’s other key elements: a public library and a childcare centre.
This community centre’s gymnasium is well used not only as an athletic facility, but also a space for community events. In place of a typical, utilitarian, open web steel joist gym ceiling, we developed a wood structural system that balanced cost-effectiveness with warmth and elegance. We also made selecting an appropriate acoustic treatment a priority. The result is a versatile athletic facility that easily transitions to an event space.
Minimizing the construction’s impact on existing operations: Our design approach enabled the existing childcare centre to stay open (in its own space for as long as possible, and then in an on-site portable) throughout the entire renovation and expansion of the community centre. Closure of the library was also minimized; the expanded library was able to reopen while construction on the gymnasium was still underway.