Victoria Park Pavilion


The Victoria Park skating pavilion was one of gh3*s four entries in the City of Edmonton’s 2011 national design competition for five park pavilions, receiving an honourable mention. Of the four designs gh3* submitted, three were short-listed, and two were won (Borden Park and Castle Downs Pavilions).

The building program was cut out into wings, nestling and extending through the mature trees of the park to knit the building into its context. The interspersing of enclosed space and open forest reduced the building’s perceived scale, while the softly reflective cladding blurred its silhouette into the natural surroundings. 


The design emphasized prominent views out to the larger park and physical connections to trails and recreation areas. Each wing of the building was to house a separate program, with its orientation determined by program–specific requirements. The two south–facing wings housed the zamboni storage and workshop, and skate change facilities, respectively—each was to have direct access and views to the skating oval to the south. The training room was to be housed in a more easterly oriented wing, with intimate views of mature trees. The City–funded Phase 1 programs were located in an articulated arm that opens to the east and west, affording long views to the multi–purpose, teaching and office spaces. The aluminum skin would mirror the beauty of the setting and intensify the colour shifts of the changing seasons. 

The ends of each wing were fully glazed to capture views of the park, while offering views of the buildings functions from without. Additional glazing was strategically located to both allow abundant daylight into the pavilion, and reveal glimpses of the rich wood structure to the outside.


The structure of the building was comprised of rated wood timbers overclad by insulated panels with a polished, flat seam aluminum skin. The building wings were triangulated in section, echoing the archetypal built forms of Algonquin and Athabaskan cultures as well as Northern European vernacular architectures that came to Canada with new immigrants. The elemental form produces exceptional natural cooling, while its sloped surfaces are ideal for both managing snow load and creating visually cozy interiors in winter—the latter enhanced by concrete floors with radiant heating and high–performance insulation. 


Client: City of Edmonton

Location: Edmonton AB

Completion: 2011

Architects and Landscape Architects: gh3


2011 national design competition, honourable mention

gh3 Team: Pat Hanson, Raymond Chow, Louise Clavin, John McKenna, Simon Routh, Kamyar Rahimi, Joel Di Giacomo