Castle Downs Park Pavilion


Awarded by a national design competition, the Castle Downs Park Pavilion unifies a wide range of outdoor recreational facilities within a suburban park, and helps imbue them with a sense of place. As an organizing device along an east-west axis, the low-slung linear pavilion responds to the prairie landscape and gives definition to a vast, flat site.

Faceting and inflection characterize the form of the punctuated bar—a mirrored pavilion that offers broken and distorted reflections of its immediate environment. As an object in the landscape, the pavilion has an important function in connecting the various sports fields directly to its north and south. Two intensely hued portals provide staging areas for users and further enhance connections through the building

Programmatic functions are grouped into three distinct zones separated by the two portals: storage components for the Seahawks soccer club are housed in the east module of the building; meeting and multipurpose rooms occupy the centre; and the western most module contains public facilities and a concession. These shifts in program are articulated as the building plan inflects ever so slightly across the site.

To amplify the energy of the park, mirrored stainless-steel panels skin the building. Impact friendly, the panels offer a combination of durability, renewability and playfulness. In plan, they are arranged in a zigzag configuration creating fragmented and reflected views of the surrounding park, its users, and the days and seasons. Operable façade panels conceal the concession when closed.


The accordian like exterior walls are held in tension by a horizontal roof plane. The shallow 150-millimetre depth of the facia is achieved through a combination of an inverted roofing system over the significant cantilever of the portals and a conventional roofing system for the remainder. The polished stainless steel fascia and soffit contribute to the pavilion’s uninterrupted reflectivity.


The colour of the portals extends to the interior, enhancing the buildings permeability. The deeply saturated cobalt blue is a response to the intensity of the prairie sky, creating an altered experience in the interior by enveloping the user in an intimate cocoon in which the walls, floor and ceiling seem to dematerialize. Contributing to the seamless planar interior expression is the placement of building emergency devices, recessed, painted aluminum bases and corner guards, and smooth Corian-clad walls and benches. Durable recycled rubber lines the floor of the portal lobbies, washrooms and the Seahawks area to protect against skates and cleats.

In adopting an integrated approach to sustainable design, the building utilizes both passive and active strategies within a high-performance envelope. The pavilion’s reflective skin, highly insulated assemblies, and strategic glazing cohere into a buffer from climatic extremes. In combination with multiple skylights, a building management system controls through-wall venting in the glazing, ensuring uninterrupted daylight in winter months while facilitating passive venting for the building. Rainwater harvesting addresses stormwater requirements, and the high-performing exterior walls ensure that the material and energetic investment in the building will benefit its community well into the future.


Client: City of Edmonton

Location: Edmonton AB

Completion: 2014

Architects and Landscape Architects: gh3

Consultants: Chernenko Engineering (structural), Vital Engineering (mechanical), AB (electrical), BTY (cost)

General Contractor: Krawford  Construction



2011 Project awarded through a national design competition
2011 Canadian Architect Award of Merit
2018 Prairie Design Award of Excellence


gh3 Team: Pat Hanson, Raymond Chow, John McKenna, Simon Routh, Kamyar Rahimi