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Courtesy of HMCA


The winning proposal for this project was based on three primary objectives – maintaining the vitality of the site’s ecosystem as an essential part of the city’s network of forested areas, creating an experience of swimming within a forest, and developing a scheme based on efficient use of resources. 

Tucked into an existing clearing adjacent an urban forest, the design’s primary conceptual thread is creating a close relationship with nature. Through careful placement of the building and the considerate layout of the three primary pools, patrons will have the experience of swimming in nature. Through carefully considered glass walls and skylights, the experience will be of filtered and dappled light. The forest and natural light is brought deep into the heart of the building with a “natural” roof terrace and controlled glass openings. 

Clear circulation throughout the building supports the primary project goal of experiencing the natural surroundings. Interior pathways offer unexpected views toward the pools and the exterior forest. The building is not “next to nature”, it is part of it. Its shape, structure and skin are designed to celebrate the forest. 

Its circular form supports an efficient use of floor area that allows portions of the site to be restored as an extension of the neighboring woodlot and the remaining area to be developed into a meaningful civic plaza. The entrance provides a clear understanding of circulation, views into the recreation pool and forest beyond, and the ability to enjoy a public plaza serviced by the proposed ground level café. The layout supports a wide range of activities. The recreation pool is separated from the competitive 50m pool and 25m dive tank giving flexibility to how the facility can be operated and controlled. Permanent and temporary spectator seating is available and each benefits from the exposure to natural light and the experience of being within the forest. 

 The facility has ambitious sustainability goals and targets LEED Gold certification, maximizing energy-efficiency as well as water conservation and highlighting the importance of protecting of natural ecosystems. Wood will be highlighted within through both structure and finishes. [1]  


[1]      “Complexe Aquatique De Laval: NFOE.” Archello. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://archello.com/project/complexe-aquatique-de-laval#stories.

Additional information:

“Complexe Aquatique Laval.” hcma, March 16, 2021. https://hcma.ca/hcma-nfoe-awarded-complexe-aquatique-de-laval-in-national-design-competition/.

Frearson, Amy. “World Building of the Year 2017 Shortlist Announced.” Dezeen, September 11, 2017. https://www.dezeen.com/2017/07/07/world-architecture-festival-building-year-2017-shortlist-announced/.

“NFOE and HCMA Architecture + Design Awarded Complexe Aquatique De Laval.” Building, February 23, 2017. https://building.ca/nfoe-hcma-laval/.

“NFOE Et Associés.” NFOE. Accessed July 14, 2021. http://nfoe.com/en.

St-Amour, Stephane. “Complexe Aquatique: La Ville Met Fin Au Contrat.” Courrier Laval, February 5, 2020. https://courrierlaval.com/complexe-aquatique-la-ville-met-fin-au-contrat/.

Torres, Anna. “Consortium NFOE / HCMA.” , Canadian Competitions Catalogue / Catalogue des Concours Canadiens, June 7, 2017. https://www.ccc.umontreal.ca/fiche_concours.php?lang=en&cId=427.

“Ville De Laval.” Ville de Laval – Complexe aquatique de Laval : le consortium NFOE-HCMA remporte le concours d’architecture. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.laval.ca/Pages/Fr/Nouvelles/complexe-aquatique-laval-consortium-nfoe-hcma.aspx.

Project Title: Complexe Aquatique Laval
Artists:  NFOE et associés, HCMA Architecture + Design
Year: 2017 (project awarded)

Place: Laval, Québec

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