Posted by: Shehryar Sarwar
As most are aware, the community consultation that considered three design options for a new fieldhouse at Windsor Park was completed in November. Its results were announced in the News Between the Bridges email newsletter the same month and reported in The OSCAR last month.
To recap quickly: the online survey received 118 responses. Of those, 29 respondents voted for the first (the largest) option, 35 for option 2 (roughly the same size as Option 1), and 30 for option 3 which was the smallest design. The working group also received 13 responses not supporting a design that provided any indoor programming space, and 11 not supporting any of the options presented. Notwithstanding these negative responses, one can safely conclude that the overwhelming majority of respondents want a new structure and also favour some kind of indoor programming and storage facilities at Windsor Park, plus washrooms and changing facilities.
The Fieldhouse Working Group, now in its fourth year of deliberations has been through several community consultations, both online and in-person, open house meetings, neighbourhood surveys, and has tabled multiple reports and presentations at numerous Board meetings where every aspect of this subject has been endlessly parsed and analysed. During this period, a very broad spectrum of views and opinions have been heard, passionately expressed, whether in favour or against a particular design, and the working group are in no doubt that the community feels strongly about how this turns out.
Responding to the community’s needs
Given the range of views already expressed, the working group sought a way forward that would balance the views of the community. The consultant architect was requested to prepare a design that incorporates the most frequently-expressed and popular features and fits these into a difficult and tight building site that can minimise its impact on the park’s aesthetics.
The redesigned fieldhouse (see illustration: New Fieldhouse for Windsor Park Presentation to OSCA Board 21 Dec 2021 final) comes in at around 1,900 sq. ft. (the current building stands at about 1,000 sq. ft.) This revised design would cover approximately.014% of Windsor Park’s area, equivalent a mere 17% of the space currently occupied by the Windsor tennis courts.
External and internal efficiencies
A compressed design responds to many different considerations. Visually it is important to have a building that presents low sightlines to a user entering the park. Equally important is the need to minimise this building’s impact on its surroundings: the mature trees growing around the current structure, the swimming pool, and the children’s playground. In addition, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) rules prevent construction inside a floodplain, also compelling the design architect to further reduce this building’s footprint.
The revised design applies efficiency principles to the building’s insides as well. Its interior is largely devoid of corridors and its rooms are designed for multiple uses and functions in order to reduce the total space required. The roof overhang to the south creates a space for outdoor events and activities, while a basic kitchen (really, a servery) is accessible from within as well as outside the building. A multipurpose program room can also be accessed from the outside deck, with patio doors turning it into a shared indoor/outdoor space. Washrooms are designed to be barrier-free and could likewise be used internally or externally so that when the rest of the building is closed they are still accessible. Overall this design emphasises the building’s service to outdoor programming and community activities. Its staff support room serves a variety of uses: to store records and valuables, provide support or first aid to children in distress, as well as a space for confidential meetings and conversations, and, if needed, access to the internet and a landline phone for reliable emergency contact.
Green design features
The working group has made a significant effort to incorporate features that would allow it to operate as a ‘NetZero’ facility. Where possible, sustainable wood products will be used in construction, and passive solar has been incorporated into the design to use the warmth and energy of the sun in the winter, while during summer the roof overhang on the southern exposure shades the building and its deck. The installation of low-flow toilets and ground or air source heat pumps will also lead to significantly lower energy use. Use of this material and the emphasis on natural light and energy should make this a showcase for environmentally friendly design: these design features, cost-efficient and aesthetically pleasing, would also demonstrate to the community the expanded possibilities of “NetZero” in contemporary residential design.
OSCA Board process
This revised design was presented to the OSCA Board on 21st December, 2021. Board members responded positively and passed a resolution approving the recommendation. At the Board’s meeting of 18th January this year a formal resolution was passed to apply to the City’s Community Partnerships Major Capital Projects Program.
The working group will now proceed to finalise OSCA’s application to the Program and officially seek the City’s funding support, in addition to providing our own fundraising and financing plan. That application is to be submitted by 1st March 2022.
Shehryar Sarwar is a member of the Windsor Park Fieldhouse Working Group and an OSCA Board member.
Featured in the February 2022 OSCAR.