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On a hot summer Thursday, a crowd of parents gathered on a bench at Churchill Meadows Park in Mississauga, Ontario. As they rested with their backs against the glazed wall of the site’s newly completed community center, watching their kids in the adjacent playground, they were protected by an airy overhang on the building’s west facade that serves as a shading device, shielding them from the intensity of the sun without blocking its light. This 200-foot-long expanse of aluminum mesh, supported by spruce glulam (GLT) framing, runs along the whole length of the building—a heroic gesture that’s also thoroughly hospitable.

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

A sculptural standing-seam metal skin on the east side faces vehicular traffic. Photo © Scott Norsworthy, click to enlarge.

Designed by the Toronto firm MJMA, Churchill Meadows includes the 73,500-square-foot steel and concrete structure and the attached 35-acre park. The building’s singular architecture was designed to bring the two parts of the project together, says MJMA partner Ted Watson, who led the project with founding partner David Miller and principal Chris Burbidge. “That was the opening gambit,” Watson says. “How can the park be better for the building, and how can the building be better for the park?”

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

The building’s east half houses the changing rooms at grade, with a kitchen, mechanicals, and viewing and multipurpose areas on a second floor. Photo © Scott Norsworthy

MJMA’s answer to that question was to treat the large structure as a pavilion: they made it a highly transparent monolithic bar and oriented it north–south, squarely on the park. Inside, a double-height lobby at its center connects visually to the landscape beyond. It is flanked by sports facilities: to the south is a triple gym; to the north, an aquatic center with a six-lane, 25-meter lap pool and a leisure pool. A grand stair made of GLT leads up to a second floor that runs along the east side of the building. This balcony-like space provides glazed viewing areas and access to community rooms, workout studios, and a kitchen. A large mechanical room is also tucked in here, concealing pool ventilation equipment that would otherwise mar the landscape.

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

A central doubleheight lobby (1) is flanked by the glazed and skylit sports facilities: a gymnasium to the south side (2) and pools to the north (3). Photos © Scott Norsworthy

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.
Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

All of these rooms have been well used since the center opened during the pandemic, says Raj Sheth, Mississauga’s director of facilities and property management. The center sits on the western edge of the suburban city of over 800,000 people that borders Toronto. The site, formerly a farm, had been put aside by the municipality for a new park, but rapid growth in the area, home to many South Asian immigrants with multigenerational families, led civic officials to add a recreation center as well. “Typically, a park is built, and the community center comes later, and the two are quite separate,” Sheth explains. “This was a perfect storm, a chance for us to do both at the same time.”

MJMA, which specializes in this building type, won a unified contract for the entire project—the structure and grounds. The office also includes landscape architects, so the design team was able to work “in a totally integrated way,” says project architect Tyler Walker.

With control over the site plan, the designers placed the driveways and parking on the east of the building. The park is on the west side, sheltered from traffic, and includes a playground, sprinklers, sports courts, and a skate park. (Beyond these, soccer and cricket fields, as well as tennis courts, will be delivered in a future phase.)

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.
Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

Supported by the GLT structure, the mesh overhang reveals double-height pool and gym spaces. Photo © Scott Norsworthy

The building, despite its considerable bulk, has a minimal presence in the landscape. Its two main facades each wear a uniform white cladding. On the east side, standing-seam metal folds inward to frame windows into the community rooms and first-floor corridor. On what the architects have dubbed the “porch” to the west, expanded aluminum mesh wraps around the GLT members, modulating daylight while visually reducing the building’s scale. Seven triangular light monitors on the roof pull north rays down into the interior.

Inside, the architecture is just as rigorous and spatially inventive. Walker points to the “inverted landscape” of the pool ceiling—a range of peaks and valleys that manages sound reflections and modulates light from above. Even the GLT stair up to the second floor is a feat: it rises gently to the west and then switches back to the east on a long cantilevered span.

In a building that typically hosts from 1,200 to 1,500 people per day, these spatial moves are bold enough to demand attention. Sheth says users routinely comment on the building’s beauty. But it is the porch that wins the most praise from users. That warm-hued wood structure draped with diaphanous aluminum provides one clear visual idea all the way along the building. For visitors, this zone of overlap between indoors and outdoors sends a strong message. “Very clearly,” he says, “it is a place for people to come together.”

Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

Photo © Scott Norsworthy

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Churchill Meadows Community Centre.

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Churchill Meadows Community Centre.


MJMA Architecture & Design
6-425 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 3C1

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Design Partner: David Miller; Supporting Partners: Ted Watson, Tarisha Dolyniuk, Timothy Belanger, Andrew Filarski, Viktors Jaunkalns, Robert Allen.
Principal-in-Charge: Chris Burbidge; Design Architect: Tyler Walker
Design Team: Obinna Ogunedo, Leland Dadson, Kris Vassilev, Darlene Montgomery, Jasper Flores, Caleb Tsui, Natalia Ultremari, Jeremy Campbell, Caileigh MacKellar, Kyung-Sun Hur

Architect of record:
MJMA Architecture & Design

Interior designer:
MJMA Architecture & Design

Structural: Blackwell
Mechanical & Electrical: Smith + Andersen
Civil: EMC Group

Landscape: MJMA Architecture & Design
Sports Field Landscape: John George Associates
Experiential Graphic Design / Signage & Wayfinding: MJMA Architecture & Design

General contractor:
Aquicon Construction

Scott Norsworthy



Structural System:
Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project: Nordic Structures: Glue-Laminated Timber and Cross-Laminated Timber
Gensteel (supplier/installer): Steel structure – columns and roof framing
Salit Steel (supplier/installer): Foundations
Ideal Roofing (manufacturer), TLS Group (installer): Metal deck
Coreslab Structures: Precast structural slabs

Exterior Cladding:
Masonry: Richvale York “Cambridge” series (architectural concrete block)
Metal panels: Agway Metals AR standing seam panels
Metal/glass curtain wall: Glass curtain wall by Aerloc Industries
Rainscreen: Agway AR standing seam panels, Cavityrock by Rockwool (thermal insulation), Henry Blueskin (air-vapour barrier)
Precast concrete: Precast benches by Canadian Precast
Wood: Wood soffit by Geometrik Manufacturing
Moisture barrier: Below-grade vapor barrier – “Perminator” by W.R.Meadows; Surface-applied crystalline waterproofing (elevator pits and surge tanks) – Vandex Super by The Euclid Chemical Company; Cold fluid-applied waterproofing (basement walls) – E.Protect Wall System by Epro; Bituminous damproofing (foundations) – Epro
Curtain wall: Aerloc Industries

Built-up roofing: Johns Manville

Glass: Guardian Glass
Skylights: Aerloc / Guardian Glass
Insulated-panel or plastic glazing: Insulated glass units – Guardian Glass

Entrances: Aerloc
Metal doors: Citywide Door & Hardware
Wood doors: Lampton Doors (manufacturer); Trillium (installer)
Sliding doors: Stanley
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Aluflam (fire-rated door); Amstel (side coiling security grille)
Special doors: Overhead coiling grilles by Amstel Manufacturing
Upswinging doors, other: Overhead garage doors by Garaga

Locksets: Sargent Manufacturing; GBI Industries (frameless glass doors); Assa Abloy
Closers: Dorma (overhead concealed and floor concealed); Sargent Manufacturing
Exit devices: Dorma (all glass doors); Assa Abloy
Pulls: Dormakaba (locking ladder pulls); Gallery Specialty Hardware
Security devices: Assa Abloy
Swing door operators (header or in-floor): Assa Abloy

Interior Finishes:
Acoustical ceilings: Techstyle by Hunter Douglas/CertainTeed; Perforated metal panels by Gordon Inc.
Suspension grid: Steel studs by Bailey; Standard grid by CertainTeed
Demountable partitions: Corflex Operable Partitions
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: by Allwood
Paints and stains: PPG Industries; Sansin (mass timber coating)
Wall coverings: Architectural concrete block by Richvale York
Paneling: Wood Panel Ceiling by Geometrik Manufacturing
Plastic laminate: Part of millwork by Allwood
Solid surfacing: Part of millwork by Allwood
Special surfacing: Wood athletic flooring by Connor Sports (manufacturer) / WestPoint (supplier and installer); Tackboards by Global School Products
Floor and wall tile: Floor tiles by Mosa Tiles and by American Olean; Wall tiles by Centura / Max Glory; Mosaic wall tile by Daltile
Resilient flooring: by American Biltrite
Carpet: by Interface
Special interior finishes unique to this project: Art Wall – consists of 675 tiles painted by members of the local community

Office furniture: NIC
Reception furniture: Millwork by Allwood
Fixed seating: Millwork by Allwood
Chairs: NIC
Tables: NIC
Furniture: Exterior benches and seating by Maglin, Mmcite/Open Space Solutions, W.H. Reynolds
Bike racks: Green Blue Urban

Interior ambient lighting: SGI Lighting; Visioneering / Salex (supplier)
Downlights: Meteor Lighting; V2 Lighting Group
Exterior: Poles: Gardco PureForm by Seginus Lighting; Poles by Alumnous with light fixtures by Phillips; Exterior perimeter light fixtures by Insight Lighting
Dimming system or other lighting controls: Wattstopper / Salex (supplier)

Elevators/escalators: Thyssenkrupp – Hydraulic passenger elevators

Toilets, urinals, lavatories: American Standard
Showers, faucets: Delta

Unique products that contribute to sustainability:

  • Mass timber structure and feature stair by Nordic
  • Exterior sun control device – expanded aluminum mesh by Fratelli Mariani, distribution by SSI Architectural Systems
  • Dehumidification unit by Dectron (pool heat recovery)
  • High efficiency magnetic bearing chiller by Daikin
  • Air handling units by Daikin (low temperature heating)
  • Hot water heating products by Sigma (low temperature heating)
  • High efficiency condensing boilers by Veissmann
  • Variable speed control on pumps and large motor fans by Nidec Control Techniques
  • Pumps by Bell & Gossett