World design award for Surrey Aquatic Centre

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Surrey Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre has been recognized on the world stage again for its design excellence and innovation. Designed by HCMA Architecture + Design, the project was lauded at the World Festival of Architecture (WAF) taking home the top prize in the sport – completed buildng category.

Through close collaboration with the local city authorities and diverse user groups, HCMA Architecture arrived at a design that maximized glazing towards the street, activating the project edge and blurring lines between interior and exterior spaces. The LEED-certified aquatic centre balances pro-athlete capabilities with the needs of recreational users.

The judges felt the project’s design “combined structural efficiency with an iconic silhouette” commending its wooden roof structure for “keeping clear of technical installation, allowing a very precise understanding of the overall space”.

The ambitious and daring project involved designing the roof to resemble a gently undulating and metaphorically appropriate wave form. Rather than employ conventional steel roof trusses, glue-laminated timber ‘cables’ were introduced, reducing the effective structural depth by 90 per cent. This served to reduce building volumes and energy costs, sequester carbon, and provide the community with an architecturally striking and functionally efficient recreational environment.

The aquatic centre also won the world’s top structural engineering project from the Institution of Structural Engineers (See

photo courtesy of WAF

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