Creating a place for the community to gather in the cold
In a remote, arctic city, a recreation center is essential to the community. With the impending closure of the existing pool in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the community wanted to start work on a new and improved facility quickly.
The central vision of the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre was to create a universally accessible space, while promoting healthy and active living and creating a centralized aquatic facility that acts as a hub for Iqaluit’s recreational culture. Families and individuals alike can use a leisure pool, slide, and whirlpool, while fitness-minded users can take advantage of a lap pool and fully equipped fitness center with a dedicated space for group fitness classes.
The very concept of a pool is at odds with this environment, so we had to get creative. We built the facility on a pile foundation and situated the pool tanks above grade and within the structure of the building, avoiding the potential permafrost problem and sandwiching the community areas between the ground and the pool. Surrounded by an energy-efficient envelope, the design incorporates state-of-the-art pool water treatment, humidification control, and HVAC systems designed for a northern environment.
The exterior form marks the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre as a landmark within the city—a colorful building façade and main-entry curved roof reflect its playful, inviting interior. This project is the first of five (including a new city hall) that a feasibility study identified as priorities for new development.
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