Jean-claude-malEpart Swimming Center

LOCATIONMontreal, Canada


Team: Dino Barbarese, Mario Saia, Vladimir Topouzanov, Mélanie Bherer, Patrick de Barros, Wassili Dudan, David Griffin, Virginie Legast, Mathias Loscos, Yvan Marion, Donald Marquis, Catherine Simard, Sam Yip EXPANSION FOR THE JEAN-CLAUDE-MALÉPART SPORT CENTER In a neighbourhood which evolved from low-scale worker housing and shops to an urban nexus centered on a subway station and featuring vibrant community-oriented facilities, the challenge was to establish a formal dialogue between the old and the new while drawing attention to the aquatic component of the program. The goal was to offer the neighbourhood a dynamic and secure environment which would promote the pursuit of healthy activities. Maintaining the existing concrete-clad entrance, off Ontario Street was of importance as well as siting the new low-rise structure adjacent to it. In order to reduce the building’s bulk and to bring natural light in, particularly at the back, a small court was created off du Havre Street. Rooflines respond to contiguous conditions: three-storey high along Ontario Street, the roofline slopes down towards the residential scale along du Havre Street. Eye-catching brick façades wrap around the building featuring an amplified wave pattern inspired by David Hockney’s ‘Portrait of an artist’ (1972). The generous openings are intended to give passersby a glimpse of the pool area with the hope of gradually drawing them in. The vertical and horizontal circulation area off the entrance is airy and acts as a link between the Centre’s former activities and its new aquatic functions. Oversize bricks —anthracite and grey on white— were selected for the façade creating a luminous feeling during the day and at night. In contrast with the monochromatic exteriors, a deep shade of blue is introduced in the pool area where waves seem to ripple through the white ceramic floor before carrying up the east wall. Above the mezzanine window, connected to the blue exercise room beyond, the highest point of the exterior window initiates a cascading movement down, as a mountain stream, towards the pool below.