The Granite Club provides athletic and social facilities to its community of 10,000 members. The existing building, the fourth in its long history, dates from the early 1970’s and is remarkable equally for the high quality of athletic programming provided as it is for the opaque exterior walls that enclose many of those uses.
The site is a beautiful natural setting perched along the edge of the steep wooded ravine of the West Don River. This project is a major addition to the original 1970s building with a program designed to provide: an inviting and accessible entrance, child care, after-school study and activities, better access between change facilities and tennis courts, changing trends toward to provide fitness programs, and to provide three levels of additional underground parking.
The architectural challenge was to redress a decades old problem inherited from the existing building and transform the largely interior spaces by opening them up to the outside, to the ravine, to the tennis courts and to the street.
This resulted in an L-shaped plan that created a new court overlooking the ravine and provide a venue for athletics and social events. The new entrance court at the front is created by raising the grade to meet the existing floor level and further defining it with a grand copper clad covering for drop-off and pick-up.
The narrow building footprint and extensive building overhangs creates a covered porch to both the street and the ravine. The entrance has been rotated 90 degrees form the existing entrance and frames views through to the ravine upon arrival.
Early on in the design process the project acquired the theme Shiftingravity – for that is exactly what this addition has done to the “behemoth” that was the existing facility.