Fit for a champion: Metal design elements help redesigned gym go for gold

Facility esthetics

A view from the gym floor, facing the viewing areas on the main floor and the mezzanine.
A view from the gym floor, facing the viewing areas on the main floor and the mezzanine.

In addition to the IMPs, the building also used conventional construction materials and nearly 464.5 m2 (5000 sf) of glass on the exterior, which allows an abundance of light on the two Olympic-sized floors where competitive athletes are able to tumble and train. The glazing is tinted to provide a bright interior space without compromising athlete safety. Brantford Gymnastics Academy purchased new, top-of-the-line equipment from all over the world to ensure exceptional quality in its training programs.

The interior space was laid out in conjunction with the owners and the design-builder’s architect. The layout requirements of the training facility were established by the owners, along with its equipment supplier, to maximize the efficiency of the space. This allowed for an inset trampoline and two additional foam pits with climbing rope and bars above. The interior floor and wall texturing utilizes an acrylic modified cement-based coating allowing for comfortable, nonslip surfaces underfoot as well as low-maintenance, easy-to-clean surfaces on the walls. The coating further adds texture giving the appearance of a decorative faux-stone finish and, of course, contributes to an amazing colourful touch to the inside space.

The glazing is tinted to provide a bright interior space without compromising athlete safety.
The glazing is tinted to provide a bright interior space without compromising athlete safety.

Other building features include 278 m2 (3000 sf) dedicated to office/administration areas, a colourful party room, a glass-encased viewing area on the mezzanine overlooking the gymnasium floor, and changerooms for the athletes. The first-floor changerooms and main entry feature heated concrete floors so athletes moving from boots to bare feet do not have their muscles shocked before entering the training space, and the second-floor viewing area’s glass wall is dual-pane, which increases safety, lowers noise transmission, and provides a wonderful viewing space and open feeling to both spectators and athletes. While the main viewing area is located on the second floor, there is another on the lower level that is wheelchair accessible and welcomes family members to observe classes in a safe, comfortable space.

Lanca also used a striking red for all the building’s trim and downspouts that brings a vibrant, modern feel to the facility.

The viewing area for spectators on the second-level mezzanine of Brantford Gymnastics Academy. Wooden, Adirondack-style chairs allow for comfortable viewing behind a dual-pane glass wall.
The viewing area for spectators on the second-level mezzanine of Brantford Gymnastics Academy. Wooden, Adirondack-style chairs allow for comfortable viewing behind a dual-pane glass wall.

Internally, the design of the space, in conjunction with the metal panel system, allowed the HVAC designer to ensure airflow was quiet and did not serve as a distraction to the athletes. The system allows coaches to adjust quickly from a cool, empty gym to one with high humidity when many athletes are training. Athletes as young as four years old can thus remain comfortable in the cavernous space both upon entry and during training, when their core temperatures inevitably rise.

Careful consideration was given to the HVAC system. Constant air movement was required to ensure athletes in leotards were comfortable by keeping their muscles warm and cool enough once moving. Enclosed destratification fans permit air movement, are whisper-quiet, and give no visual distraction during any athlete’s activity. With health and safety in mind, Brantford Gymnastics Academy also mandated the HVAC return-air system minimize air pollution within the gym and keep humidity and dust/chalk concentration to a minimum. The system also eliminates odours by recycling the air and constantly drawing fresh air from outside.

In late November 2017, six months after Lanca was awarded the contract and several weeks ahead of schedule, Brantford Gymnastics Academy opened the doors of its new facility to the public. Two pivotal factors contributed to the expedited delivery of the academy. First, the efficiency and vigilance of the design-builder’s team, and the implementation of a steel building system and components.

“The owners of the Brantford Gymnastics Academy were motivated and a pleasure to deal with, which improved the project delivery schedule,” says Lancaster. “It truly is a second home to these athletes, and I am glad Lanca had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Rachel Mercado joined Robertson Building Systems in 2015 and has five years of experience in the construction industry. She attended McMaster University’s MBA program between 2008 and 2011 and received degrees in business and math prior to that. Mercado can be reached via e-mail at info@robertsonbuildings.com.

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