Tilt Natatorium

Pedram Karimi, Ehsan Naimpour
University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Toronto

Project idea

The project begins with an interest in public urban PARK design and the idea of framing an object by landscape morphologies and pathways within them. Similarly, also as part of a place making exercise, we were interested in designing a natatorium that does not read necessarily as a building within a landscape but an object within it that responds to major site lines and is framed by vegetation. The intention here was to create a public building that can offer a very personal and intimate relationship at the same time. Working simultaneously on section drawings where we pivoted the roof line, and massing studies experimenting with collisions of objects in a sandbox, we became interested in a triangular expression both in section and plan. The paradoxical characteristic of a triangle in plan and section, where it allows for the juxtaposition of expansive, and confined programs at the same time, led to a design accommodating for a high ceiling public natatorium and an intimate spa. Landing the monolith becomes the main formal move shaping the landscape, exterior elevations, and interior views.
The impact causes the tip to sink, and rotate leaving a shallow impression on one side (shallow pond) and lifting the landscape on the opposite side. The eastern shear wall, and fins on the north and east side are also canted as a result of the impact creating an oblique view from the Hydro corridor. When inside, one registers the tracing of torsion in the ceiling and columns of the natatorium, and similarly in the sunken mass of the spa ceiling.

Project description

The Tilt is a sunken monolith within a central park of a future neighborhood at the Golden Mile in Toronto. The Golden Mile site is a commercial district in the Scarborough district of Toronto that is undergoing new master plan developments that offer more residential buildings to the site. The new master plan proposals leave generous urban voids in the form of open landscapes and parks, which encourages the incorporation of new public buildings and amenities. The Natatorium is comprised of 3 floors. The spa and the pools are located on the basement along with accompanying change rooms and mechanical rooms. The main lobby and gym are located on the ground level, and the multipurpose room is on the third floor. The stepped floor typology allows for the spaces above to frame the spaces below, visually interconnecting all the spaces together.

Technical information

Environmental zones:
The building is divided into five environmental zones. All of the zones except for the therapy pool/Spa are heated by the in-floor radiant system, cooled by forced air, and mechanically ventilated (for fresh air) through heat recovery ventilation system (HRV). The Therapy pool and Spa however, are separated from the main mechanical system and rely on their own mechanical room (directly adjacent) providing them with separated HVAC and dehumidifier units.

In order to set a EUI for this project we looked at some statistics on average EUI of each property type Canada. It is evident that the average EUI of recreational projects are drastically higher than those of other uses. This is due of course to the other facilities that use significant amounts of heating and space conditioning to meet operational requirements for swimming pools. The average EUI for recreational projects in Vancouver for example is around 740 ekWh/m2 per year which much higher than many other uses of public buildings that stand closer to 350 ekWh/m2 range. So our goal for this project in terms of Energy consumption in short term was to stay in 400 ekWh/m2 range. This number for initial design development phase was at around 700 ekWh/m2 that was reduced through sustainable strategies including: geothermal energy, low E tipple glazing, motion activated LED, solar evacuated tubes, radiant heating, drain water heat recovery system, rainwater collection, thermal mass, and daylight strategies.


Ehsan Naimpour

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