Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Awards of Excellence — 2019 Recipient

Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool
Award Category: 
Awards of Excellence
Innovation in Architecture

Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool
Borden Park
Edmonton, AB
Completion: 2018
Client: City of Edmonton
Architects: gh3*

The Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool is the first chemical-free public outdoor pool to be built in Canada.

The project replaces an existing pool and includes a seasonal pavilion and landscaped pool area for 400 swimmers.  The building houses universal change rooms, showers, washrooms, staff areas, and water filtration mechanisms.

The challenge was to create a large-scale pool with high-quality water control while also achieving an environmentally healthy and natural filtration process. The design process began with developing a pool technology that cleanses the water through stone, gravel, sand, and botanic filtering processes.

Filtration is achieved in two ways: through a biological-mechanical system, or the constructed wetland and gravel filter, and in situ, with Zooplankton. It is an unsterilized, chemical-and-disinfectant-free filtering system in which isolating membranes contain water as it circulates and is cleansed through a natural process.

The filtering processes inspired a materials-oriented concept for the change room facility, with gabion basket stone walls, made of locally sourced limestone and steel that visually evoke the idea of filtration.

A lid-like flat roof on the low rectilinear building frames the tree-canopy of the park beyond and enhances the sensation of open-sky spaciousness in the pool precinct.

Jury Comment(s): 

“We have here a clear example in which technical innovation is serving the fabrication of an architecture that ultimately transcends it.”

“The Borden Park pool embodies the idea of innovation into an effortless and subtle architectural outcome." 

"The strength of the simple, yet powerful architecture is beautifully integrated with the biological systems that provide healthy user experiences, both physically and psychologically.”

Jury:

Richard Henriquez, CM, FRAIC
Founding Principal, Henriquez Partners Architects
2005 RAIC Gold Medalist
Vancouver, BC

Sergio Morales, MIRAC
Co-founder, Chevalier Morales Architectes
Montreal, QC

Johanna Hurme, FRAIC
Co-founder, 5468796 Architecture
Past Chair, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
Winnipeg, MB

Click for full version: 
Pool Toward Entry

Pool Toward Entry

PHOTO: gh3*

Hydrobotanic Pano

Hydrobotanic Pano

PHOTO: gh3*

Change Stalls

Change Stalls

PHOTO: gh3*

Main Door West

Main Door West

PHOTO: gh3*

Showers looking East

Showers looking East

PHOTO: gh3*

Granular Filter Detail

Granular Filter Detail

PHOTO: gh3*

Hydrobotanic from Above

Hydrobotanic from Above

PHOTO: gh3*

West Elevation Showers

West Elevation Showers

PHOTO: gh3*