Development: Guildford’s New Aquatic Centre

Guildford’s Transformation Begins with a New Aquatic Centre

Development: Guildford's New Aquatic Centre

Over the next two years several communities all over the City will have new public amenities to enjoy. In the last few years the municipal administration has added several great amenities to the City, including a new Recreation Centre in Cloverdale and expenditure projects for centers in Central City North and Fleetwood. Now it is Guildford’s turn for some development.

Guildford's New Aquatic Centre
(Alec Smith from Shape Architects – left)

On Wednesday night Citizens came out to the Open House at the Guildford Recreation Centre to learn about the expansion of this facility. Upon completion of this project, Guildford will join the aquatic centre family of Surrey with the North Surrey, Fleetwood and Newton facilities. The new Aquatic Centre in Guildford comes into the focus of the community at a time when Guildford Town Centre is also under a massive reconstruction and redevelopment. The start of this construction will lead to the overall reshaping, redevelopment and planning of the new Guildford over the next few years.

The new addition to the present building will be situated on the East side along 152nd Street on approximately 75 000 square foot of space. This space will accommodate several amenities as another architectural landmark in Surrey. This project is the product of a partnership between Bing Thom Architects  and Shape Architects and will certainly be a great addition to the Guildford community. According to the Architects involved in the project, the main feature will be a full-sized FINA certified competition pool, leisure pool and hot pool fully accessible to those with disabilities. Moreover, they will be used for recreational and therapeutic purposes.

Guildford's New Aquatic Centre

The surrounding area will also go under a great developmental change, represented by two main elements. The first is the construction of a new 130 stall parking lot, however the bigger change will occur in the landscape transformation of the area. The architectural challenge for the landscape transformation is the amount of rainfall in the Lower Mainland that impacts the construction of a facility like this. The planners suggest to lower the level of the proposed pool facility under the lowest level of the present building. Lowering the facility will open all needed space for the creation of a new landscape, walkable streets, and a user-friendly facility in the centre of the community.

Guildford’s new Aquatic Centre will be a great addition to the established nucleus of the Central City area which has been undergoing a transformation with the addition of the new City Centre Library, new City Hall & Community Plaza under construction and the upcoming 3 Civic Plaza and BOSA properties projects. The Performing Arts Centre is another project that will be announced soon. As one of the fastest growing municipal areas, there is a certain commitment to transform the City into a modern and high functioning municipal centre of the Lower Mainland. Upon speaking with City Councillor, Barinder Rasode regarding this particular project, she commented that the new additions to the current Guildford Recreation Centre facility is nothing else but a part of a broader City commitment to communities.

Barinder Rasode
(Barinder Rasode. Photo Credit Asian Journal)

“The Guildford Community Pool represents Council’s commitment to each area of our great City. As we grow, we are striving to enhance that quality of life to all citizens, young, old and those in between.” said Councillor Rasode.

At the Open House, I spoke with Michael Heeney from Bing Thom Architects and learned that the Aquatic Centre addition to the existing building will open the space for the creation of new central portal and entrance, enhancing the overall architectural representation. No doubt that this will be another visually stunning design.

Michael Heeney
(Michael Heeney from Bing Thom Architects – right)

Citizens visiting the Open House expressed their support and admiration for the upcoming project which is expected to begin in Fall of 2012 with an estimated project duration of 18 months. The Architects addressed numerous questions about the smallest details regarding this project and were very helpful in with their answers. Alec Smith from the Shape Architects, was extremely helpful with the details of this project. I observed excitement from the Open House visitors about the upcoming additions to the neighbourhood, and the prospect of saving on the current travel time to the nearest aquatic facility.

Upon completion, the Aquatic Centre will provide an opportunity for children and youth to learn about the world of competitive swimming. The Centre will also have the potential to promote aquatic team sports, and be available as a venue for local, Provincial and National competitions.

For specific details about the elements of this project, listen to my interviews with Alec Smith from Shape Architects and Michael Heeney from Bing Thom Architects.

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Esmir Milavic
Born in Bosnia, Esmir’s interests are in journalism, politics, communications, history, culture, sports, books and technology. He has contributed to some of the most innovative independent media projects to come out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the earliest members of Surrey604, Esmir now resides in Sarajevo working with Bosnian FACE TV.