Genesis Place - Phase III

As Originally Seen in Award Magazine :

In 2012, after more than a decade of planning, the City of Airdrie finally broke ground on the final phase of Genesis Place – the city’s new recreation facility. Phase I of the project saw the construction of a swimming pool and gymnasiums while Phase II included the construction of soccer field houses and a gymnastics facility. 

Last year the city council approved a budget of approximately $20 million for Phase III of Genesis Place, making it one of the biggest capital projects for the city. Funding was secured from a number of sources including a grant from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative, user-group fundraising through the Airdrie Regional Recreation Enhancement Society (ARRES), corporate sponsorship and a community legacy fund. 

Once completed, Phase III will see the design and construction of two NHL-sized arenas to meet the community needs assessment, says Chris Reason, project manager, Corporate Properties at the City of Airdrie. The two-floor facility will include seating for 250 people at each rink, conference rooms and a foyer area for events. 

“Airdrie’s demographics include a high population of young families and many of those families are enrolled in hockey, figure skating and ringette,” explains Reason. “Managing ice time for all teams and groups was extremely difficult and the new ice surfaces at Genesis Place will help relieve that.” 

In addition to the building of two new ice surfaces, this final phase will also include the construction of new dressing rooms and a meeting space for community groups. The ice arenas will run north to south and will back onto the edge of the facility’s outdoor track. The baseball diamond, located near the track, will also be redeveloped to include room for more than 100 new parking stalls.

While boasting an impressive history in the development, construction and design of similar projects, the team involved in this project says that Genesis Place brings with it an air of originality. 

“The visual look of the exterior is fairly unique with a sloped roof towards the centre. Some materials used at the front entrance are distinctive as well, such as Swisspearl concrete composite panels. The rinks also have light-diffusing exterior glazing that is very unique for this type of facility,” says Jamie Brenneman, project manager with Bird Construction Group.

“What sets the project apart is the scale of the complex, the connectivity of large-scale components and the commitment and participation of the City of Airdrie and Genesis Place staff in the design of the project,” adds Chris Johnson, contract administrator with Gibbs Gage Architects.

“The architecture is very modern looking. Although we are not an old community, new developments have, for the most part, blended in with the rest of the city, but Genesis Place stands out,” adds Reason.

He notes that materials for the final phase of the project were chosen with the intent of keeping in-line with the city’s sustainability plan. Materials needed to be durable and resistant to weather conditions and vandalism, while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

In addition to ensuring that all available space is utilized effectively, the project’s developer and architect both felt it was essential to make use of the area’s natural elements. “The structure incorporates natural light into the building with a frosted glazing strategically located at corner junctions,” explains Johnson.

“Structural and architectural features such as the trusses and light-filtered glazing overlooking the ice surfaces allow maximum natural light into the facility without posing any detriment to users or the ice surface,” adds Reason. 

While this final phase is on schedule for completion in mid-July, the project has not come without its challenges. Johnson says, “The site and adjacent parcel is fairly developed and the available land for parking was at the north of the building. This required
vehicle access and a safe, clear route internally to the arenas from that lot.”

Johnson says the design team developed an arena parking lot and access point at the northwest corner of the building, with direct spectator access and a player access around the west rink. “Given the limited site area, one of the main challenges was to provide connectivity to the other phases, while also providing functional access to the twin arenas,” he adds.

“The soil at this portion of the building posed a lot of challenges for the team from both a structural and cost perspective,”
says Johnson.

According to Brenneman, his company had to remove approximately 25,000 cubic metres of unsuitable soils and concrete rubble for the main building and parking. This was done in order to reach the required level of clay needed for structural stability. 

Deep excavation was also required. Bird Construction Group worked closely with design engineers and soils consultants to ensure proper bearing was achieved.

Although the project was phased over a number of years, the team involved in the development and construction of Genesis Place felt that there needed to be an element of continuity throughout the facility. This was achieved in that nearly all construction consisted primarily of structural steel with strip pad footing foundations. The exterior also complements the existing centre, making use of composite metal panels, metal cladding and masonry veneer.

Ultimately, Reason says, “a tie-in to the existing phases of Genesis Place was a key element to ensuring one cohesive facility at the end of the project. When you look at the City of Calgary skyline, there are buildings that you can point out for their uniqueness – one of Airdrie’s architectural landmarks will certainly be Genesis Place.”
Genesis Place - Phase Iii : News & Media : Bird Construction