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

Cooper Koo Family Cherry Street YMCA


“A simple, elegant and well-executed solution that seems to perfectly fit into the neighborhood. The composition of the main façade that celebrates wellness and respects the scale of neighboring buildings and streetscape.” — Doug Barraza

The PanAm & Parapan Games Athletes’ Village was designed to deliver a home away from home for more than 10,000 athletes and officials participating in the 2015 Games. Following the Games, the Village was immediately converted into the Canary District, a sustainable mixed-use neighborhood with a range of private and social housing, a student residence for George Brown College, and the Cooper Koo Family Cherry Street YMCA.

The conversion of the training facility — with its large fitness center, multi-use studios, aquatics center, and ancillary athletic and wellness space — to a YMCA creates a social hub for the new district, providing access to community and wellness services for the entire precinct. The new Cooper Koo Family Cherry Street YMCA is currently serving more than 1,000 people per day.

The design vision celebrates the best qualities of Canada: open, inclusive and welcoming. From the dramatic screened western facade, to the fully glazed gymnasium facing south, the vitality and permeability of the YMCA symbolizes the principles of health and wellness. Through human-scaled, pedestrian-friendly gestures, the fully glazed base allows visibility to the life within, showcasing the civic spaces to the street and creating an open and inviting public identity.

“A thoughtful and transformative approach to long-term building design and overall community planning.” — Emily Parris

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