The Gleneagles Community Centre is located on a small, gently sloping site adjacent to a public golf course. The program is organized on three levels to minimize the building footprint. By subtly reshaping the cross-sectional topography of the site, the lower level and the intermediate level are both located on grade. The intermediate level is accessible from a generous porch along the street and contains a community “living room,” café, meeting room, administration, and child care facilities. The lower level opens on the opposite side of the building to the covered terraces and courtyard spaces adjacent to the golf course and includes a gymnasium, multipurpose room, arts room, youth room, and outdoor specialty area. The upper level accommodates fitness facilities.
The sectional arrangement of interior spaces activates and energizes the building. The volume of the gymnasium rises through the three levels; walls that separate this volume from adjacent spaces are glazed to facilitate visual connection between the various programs within the building. These simultaneous views of multiple activities animate the interior; the life of the building and the energy of the place are palpable to the community within and without.
The structural system consists of cast-in-place concrete floor slabs, insulated double-wythe composite tilt-up concrete end walls and a heavy timber roof. This structure is an important component of the interior climate-control system. The structure acts as a huge thermal-storage mass, a giant static heat pump that absorbs, stores, and releases energy to create an extremely stable indoor climate, with constant temperatures inside occupied spaces, regardless of the exterior climate. Radiant heating and cooling in both floors and walls maintains a set temperature; the concrete surfaces act alternately as emitters or absorbers. The thermal energy for this system is provided by water-to-water heat pumps via a ground-source heat exchanger under the adjacent permeable parking area.
Roof overhangs provide protection from winter rains, shield interiors from excessive local solar loads in summer, and discharge rain water into adjacent landscape swales to permeate back into the natural landscape.
Ventilation is accomplished using a displacement system. 100% fresh air is tempered and supplied at low velocity at low levels. This air rises, flushing contaminants upward, where it is then captured and exhausted through a heat recovery ventilator. Since air is not being used as a medium for climate control, opening windows and doors does not affect the performance of the heating and cooling system.
The mechanical system required to accomplish this is 40% of the capacity of a conventionally sized HVAC plant, resulting in both smaller mechanical equipment and space requirements. The specific annual energy consumption per unit area (the entire HVAC system uses electrically powered ground-source heat pumps), based on the period of February 2004 to January 2005, was 139 kWh/m2 year. This is less than 40% of 400 kWh/m2 year which is the average annual energy consumption per unit area of a typical commercial building in the same climatic region.