Recreation brings individuals together and builds communities around common interests. Rarely is that more evident among chosen Facilities of Merit® than it is with the 2018 class of 10 winning projects — which includes campus and community recreation centers, an aquatics center, a sports complex, an intramural building and two YMCAs. Even facilities housing intercollegiate athletics also make ample room for wellness enthusiasts.

Facilities of Merit winners were selected in July by a panel of seven architects at the conclusion of two days of deliberations at AB Media headquarters in Madison, Wis. Next month, the architects, consultants and facility owners behind each winning project will be honored at a reception at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Thanks to all 62 entrants for helping ensure the program’s high level of competition, and congratulations to the 2018 Facilities of Merit. — The Editors

Gryphons Athletic Centre Renovation and Addition University of Guelph


“The project is well-executed on all levels with a clear, simple palette of materials and use of color to integrate the exterior, interior, branding and overall vision of athletics and wellness community.” — Doug Barraza

The goal of this project was to balance the needs of high-performance varsity athletes, create a campus social and wellness hub supporting student life, and provide a regional event center for the surrounding community.

“The Guelph Athletic Center displays a very deliberate use of interior color that speaks to circulation and individual movement in a healthy and exciting way.” Emily Parris

The expansion includes a state-of-the art fitness center with a club-like atmosphere, a triple gymnasium/event center with retractable bowl seating for 2,000, a running track with an additional 400 viewing spaces, student and varsity change rooms, a climbing wall, and program spaces to accommodate recreation, intramurals, fitness instruction and varsity activity. A primary driver for the design was the creation of a variety of accessible student spaces to foster social interaction and encourage exploration of the many programs available. The new complex satisfies the athletic and academic needs of the university and Guelph community and acts as a venue for major sporting, social gathering, cultural and conference events. The new east face of the facility has been designed to display University of Guelph athletics to the community and presents a large-scale, bold and fluid new profile to the adjacent street.

Gryphon Athletics red denotes the main public circulation path, making a clear statement to visiting teams that they have entered Gryphon territory. The bold color contrasts with the surrounding neutral palette of materials and finishes, providing clear wayfinding and integrated accessibility requirements for the main public route.

“The University of Guelph Athletic Center presents a contemporary expression and the clean interior design and use of team colors and graphics are top notch.” — Don Jones

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