This is a radical project: Canada’s first chemical free outdoor pool. Adopting a natural filtration process that still meets the country’s strict health standards, the “living water” environment with a capacity of 400 swimmers in Edmonton’s Borden Park offers an experience similar to what many already enjoy in rural lakes, complemented by graceful architecture. Its multipart purification system includes both a physical sand and gravel filter as well as a hydra botanic pond employing an ecosystem of plants, algae and bacteria hungry zooplankton. In a visual nod to the pool’s sieve-like filter bed, its long, horizontal change room facility adopts gabion basket walls filled with locally sourced stone. To further contribute to the feeling of a beach day spent in nature, the pool deck also incorporates a wide stretch of sand, ready for volleyball or castle building competitions.
Project Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool Location Edmonton, Canada Firm Gh3* (Canada) Team Pat Hanson, Raymond Chow, Joel DiGiacomo, DaeHee Kim, Nicholas Callies, John McKenna and Bernard Jin with Chris Makortoff (EllisDon), Alejandro Ortega Garcia (Morrison Hershfield), Stefan Bruns (Polyplan) and Aled Jones (Associated Engineering) Photo Gh3*
Next door to Arthur Erickson’s iconic University Hall, the Isttaniokaksini / Science Commons at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta signifies a bridge to the future. Spanning more than 36,000 square metres, the landscape-hugging building — named after the Blackfoot word meaning “deep knowledge and awareness growing out of the unknown” — houses a cross-disciplinary incubator for cutting edge science research. The five-storey structure links four lab “lofts” along a central hub that connects indoor gathering spaces to the outdoors, a relationship further enhanced by the building’s striking facade, which comprises a double skin of interior and exterior windows shaded by aluminum-fin canopies. On the building’s southern side, the two layers split apart to form a glazed Winter Garden atrium positioned to capture Lethbridge’s ample sunlight, pre-heating winter air before it enters the building’s ventilation system. Thanks to its light-harvesting and passive-energy strategies, the facility projects a significant reduction in energy use and costs, affirming its deep respect of its surroundings.
Project Isttaniokaksini / Science Commons at University of Lethbridge Location Lethbridge, Canada Firm KPMB Architects (Canada) and Stantec Architecture (Canada) Team Bruce Kuwabara and Mitch Hall with Kael Opie, Nic Green, Lucy Timbers, Amin Monsefi and Andrew Hill (KPMB), Michael Moxam and Stephen Phillips with Justin Saly, Rich Hlava, Trish Piwowar, Dale Bateman, James Strong, Chris Onyszchuk, Ruth Wigglesworth, Bo Kim and May Fung (Stantec) Photos Nic Lehoux and Adrien Willaims
Two Canadian projects – one a natural swimming pool, the other a university science commons – make a significant connection to nature.