PRIDE OF A COMMUNITY
We take some inspiration from the concept and architectural design that went into the building of the Sunset Community Center.
The Center was originally named the Sunset Memorial Community Centre which opened in 1950 for the South Vancouver residents who fought in World War II. Over the years, the center started to show its age and because it was located two blocks away from a major street, it lacked visibility and ac-cessibility.
Because the community of Vancouver was expanding rapidly – with its high percentage of recent immi-grants, young children, and young families, the city decided to build a new, larger center along Main Street. The facility was to include space for children and programs for immigrants and non-English speakers. A Vancouver-based architectural firm were tapped to design the building (see next two schematic images below).
REFLECTING CULTURAL DIVERSITY
The Center is a 30,000-square-foot facility constructed on a six-block parcel adjacent to the 10-acre Sunset Nursery, which features greenhouses and planting beds. The building’s design draws upon the geometries of the city grid and the history of the site as a working farm, as well as the cultural diversity of South Vancouver.
At a total construction cost of CAD$10.5-million (NZD $ 13.86-million), the Center integrates com-munity and landscape together in a striking composition, with a plan that deploys rooms around an internal spine. The swooping roof structure (see top-view contours, next image below), the most dramatic element of the building, has five free-form sections. Each section is unique in form and scale, and defines one of the buildings’ five core components: the central gymnasium, the multi-purpose space for community gatherings, the weight lifting and aerobic room, the arts and crafts area, and the administration offices.
Each of the building’s 46 structural concrete panels is uniquely shaped. Exterior panels are insulated, and remain exposed inside and out. The glazed curtain wall unifies the exterior with a horizontal pattern. The front elevation’s fritted-glass facade reads as a random checkerboard grid, alternating whimsically between opaque and translucent.
If you want to see more of what the interiors look like, the Virtual Tour Gallery consists of several sections that include tours of the center’s main hall, gymnasium, fitness center, arts and craft room, multi-purpose room and the arts and culture center.
BREATH OF FRESH AIR
The type of architecture represented by the Sunset Community Center in Vancouver Canada reflects, in part, the vision of the Bulwagan Foundation Trust – an audacious building that breathes fresh air into the nation’s capital of Wellington.
Why audacious? It’s because the Foundation ascribes to a belief in the transformative power of great architecture to uplift, not only the physical, but also the economic and social conditions of a com-munity. It is not a dream, but a passionate desire to make what will one day be the outcome of its Cultural and Community Centre Building Project, a meaningful whole out of many divergent parts – one which reflects the increasing diversity of New Zealand’s culture today.
This link will re-direct you to a short video clip detailing how the main challenge of creating curves to the ceilings and roof of the building was achieved during the early construction phase of the Center. It was necessary to use single slope joists with full cantilever extensions and a two-inch pipe on top of each joist, with elevations and slopes varying from joist to joist. The components were designed and fabricated at the Canam plant in Calgary, Alberta.
This building project will be of mixed use, integrating a range of commercial and institutional uses to create a vibrant and sustainable whole. Help us build it.
This Article is the 2nd Part of a 5-Part Series