September 22, 2020

Athletic Business 2020 Facilities of Merit: Laurier Brantford YMCA and USI Screaming Eagles Arena

Each year, Athletic Business recognizes just 10 facilities from across North America for its prestigious Facility of Merit awards. The facilities are judged on their community value, interior and exterior design, relationship of building to site and design features. With this year’s honors, CannonDesign has now been recognized with 11 Facility of Merit awards all time.

2020 Athletic Business Facilities of Merit from CannonDesign on Vimeo.

The full awards announcement for each project can be found online. Here are project summaries and awards jury quotes:

The Laurier Brantford YMCA is a dynamic community resource and a new model for community and collegiate recreation. The first YMCA in the world co-owned with an academic institution, the building unites the regional YMCA and Wilfrid Laurier University. The design team engaged the two clients and the community in a highly collaborative process to ensure all ideas and possibilities were covered and all needs best met.

Located at the confluence of a dynamic city edge, the center is conceived as an integrated design that offers the public a unified and cohesive experience, asserting a new identity to the block and city as a whole. The design focuses on three themes — memory, movement and landscape — as it draws upon the rhythms and patterns of buildings that previously filled the location while creating new possibilities. The center is equipped with gyms, pools, meeting spaces, health clinic space and related areas to support residents and community events.

Per the 2020 awards jury, “Innovative design and creative funding solutions combine seemingly disparate uses of public health services and collegiate athletics in this facility with a commendable goal to rejuvenate the existing urban core. I appreciate the team’s fenestration design studies, clever massing on a steep site and powerful yet simple and elegant exterior design.”

A pivotal project for the University of Southern Indiana, Screaming Eagles Arena is an iconic addition to the campus that dynamically enhances student-athlete and fan experiences, bolsters athletics and academics programming, and helps USI to recruit premier athletes.

Highly artistic and purposefully communal in its design, the USI venue represents an exciting trend in the evolution of collegiate sports venues and spaces. The building is more than just a host for athletic competition, it is an active ingredient in shaping USI campus culture. The building employs light, geometry and texture to creatively nourish its location, maximize nearby synergies and strengthen the institution by numerous measures beyond athletics.

The arena specifically serves to host the school’s basketball and volleyball teams, but it also hosts concerts, dignitary speakers and graduation ceremonies. Key spaces infused throughout include a full-size competition court for basketball and volleyball, locker rooms, training rooms, box seats, a media room, a concessions area, a varsity club room and a kinesiology lab. Together, these pieces equip the school with a Division I experience at a Division II school.

The awards jury commented, “The simple massing and transparency of the facade successfully creates a strong presence and beacon on the campus. Restraint of material palette heightens this simple gesture, making it even stronger.”

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