Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool (BPNSP)

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Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Canada

Local Authority Area

Not in UK/ROI

Information about this scheme

The Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool is the first chemical-free public outdoor pool to be built in Canada. The project replaces an existing pool and ancillary buildings, and includes a new change-room pavilion and landscaped pool precinct for 400 swimmers. The challenge was to create a large-scale pool with the high-quality water control while also achieving an environmentally healthy and natural filtration system. The design process began with developing a pool technology that cleanses the water through stone, gravel, sand, and botanic filtering processes. Filtration is achieved through a biological-mechanical system: a gravel filter, and a constructed wetland with Zooplankton. This is an un-sterilized, chemical and disinfectant-free filtering system that produces 'living water', having a similar quality to natural lake water ubiquitous across Canada. A restrained palette establishes a fundamental conceptual connection between the technical demands of the pool and the design of the built and landscape elements. The result is a technically rigorous and aesthetically integrated design that visually evokes the idea of filtration. The low-slung pavilion houses universal designed changing rooms, showers, washrooms, staff areas and the water filtration mechanisms. Dark, locally sourced limestone and steel of the gabion wall construction defines the enclosure’s vertical dimension as filter-like or breathable, as granular and porous. The swimming program includes a children’s pool, a deep pool, on-deck outdoor showers, a sandy beach, picnic areas, and spaces for other pool related recreational activities.The pool precinct is defined by a planar landscape where flush to surface detailing creates seamless interfaces between the sandy beach, the concrete pool perimeter and wood decking. The gabion walls of the low rectilinear building terminate with a lid-like flat roof that frames the tree-canopy of the park beyond, enhancing the sensation of open-sky spaciousness within the pool precinct. The elemental form and reductive materials ease the user experience and enriches the narrative of bathing in the landscape. The juxtaposition of the constructed elements invokes comparisons with the geology of the local North Saskatchewan River and the flat topography of Alberta's prairie lands edge. This project is indicative of the City of Edmonton’s exemplary leadership and recognition of the civic importance of architectural excellence in the building of public infrastructure.

Credits

Owner

City of Edmonton

Architect

gh3 architecture

Landscape Architect

gh3 architecture

Structural Engineer

Morrison Hershfield

Services Engineer

Morrison Hershfield

Swimming Pool Consultant

Polyplan

Civil Engineers

Morrison Hershfield

Main Contractor

Ellis Don

Primary Use Class

Class D2e - Indoor and Outdoor Sports