New community centre breathes new life into West Vancouver
The West Vancouver Community Centre involved a set of ambitious design
goals. The client wished to consolidate a number of disparate facilities, to provide
a front door to their recreation campus, and to take an aggressive approach to social health and environmental innovation.
The project’s technical and administrative challenges came to define the Centre’s
role in West Vancouver’s distinctly West Coast social fabric. This is a culture that
enjoys a strong tradition of both civic activity and physical wellness. The
preeminent architectural elements in the project, the three-storey atrium and the
circulation spine, reflect these traditions.
The atrium, as both a transparent, welcoming gateway and the connective tissue
between Community and Aquatic Centres, allows multiple readings; it is a formal
gathering space with views to the Great Lawn and mountains beyond, as well as a
casual passageway between buildings. Its scale is decidedly civic and it provides
genuine public space that is flexible and stimulating.
The building’s luminous three-storey circulation spine works as the Centre’s
primary artery, linking gymnasiums, fitness rooms and wellness clinics both
physically and visually. The spine is articulated along its length with an operable
skylight that helps drive sunlight and fresh air deep into the building. Colourful
bridges on the upper levels offer casual moments of pause and opportunities for
The West Vancouver Community Centre represents a dynamic new approach to
community centre design. Building upon the architectural legacy of West Coast
Modernism, the project looks boldly towards the future, while revitalising an
important civic site. The building has already become the social heart of the