1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness

As a collaborative effort between Gibbs Gage Architects (with BJ(A)L as design consultant) and Cannon Design, the new 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness is an expansion and redevelopment of the existing Physical Education and Student Union Building on the University of Lethbridge campus. The 17,250SM facility and upgrade, completed in 2007 at a value of approx. $23.5M, consists of a new, below grade, daylighted triple gym and an elevated running track; fitness centre, multi-purpose rooms, recycled climbing wall, kinesiology teaching labs, classrooms and a completely reconstructed and expanded locker facility. The project was awarded LEED® Silver in 2009.

The University of Lethbridge boasts a signature building by Arthur Erickson – the University Hall, completed in 1969 and long recognized as an important icon in Canadian Regional Modernism. The architectural significance of Erickson’s work impacts the design of the Centre for Sport and Wellness. The building is aggressively let into the ground, dramatically reducing its scale at the top of the coulee. The thin, flat roof that covers the gymnasium floats delicately above its foundations around a vast and continuous clerestory. This design direction is a dramatic departure from typical, large box gymnasia, using the natural insulating characteristics of the earth to minimize exposure of the envelope.