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The Globe and Mail

Newmarket gets a revamped community centre with design heft

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In the winter, the onetime cinderblock of a community centre in Newmarket hosts an outdoor skating surface, pictured above. It converts into a water feature when the climes warm up.

Jeff McNeill

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The old community centre was re-clad, and outdoor washrooms to serve the new asymmetrical outdoor skating rink (a water feature in summer), a new mechanical room, and a garage for the Zamboni were tacked on. Because the building looked rather puny to Superkül’s eyes, the new metal cladding was extended upward to create a parapet, and a wrap-around canopy creates horizontal heft.

Shai Gil

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Superkül pushed the city to allow it to use warm, reddish ipe wood on the bottom portion of the building. “We wanted something that would be friendly, something that wasn’t going to be imposing,” says Mr. D’Elia. The municipality was concerned, rightly, about maintenance, refinishing and lovestruck initial-carvers, but tests proved the “iron wood” could take the abuse.

Shai Gil

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Inside, the community centre was left much the same as it was in 1974, as the limited budget allowed only new bamboo flooring, new T-bar ceilings, paint, and some sexy marble for the bar areas.

Shai Gil

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Enjoying its second winter and flooded with happy strollers and skaters, Newmarket Riverwalk Commons and the refurbished Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall are urban oases. Where once there was a sea of cars surrounding two long, dark, shed-like buildings, there is now a long, landscaped finger around a bright architectural beacon. “In the ’burbs, you don’t come together,” offers Ms. Rosenberg. “You might meet over a Wal-Mart aisle, but you don’t come together with that same level of recreation.”

Shai Gil

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The splash pool in summer.

Greg King

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Where the “sea of parking used to be” there is still parking, but it’s been handled better.

Greg King

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The new linkage to the river and the man-made waterfall.

Jeff McNeill

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