In Whitby, Ontario, Canada, a local charity is changing the world for people with disabilities by creating opportunities through sports, arts and life skills programming – and is acclaimed around the world for doing so!
Recognized as an International Center of Excellence for its fully accessible design and inclusive environment, Abilities Center is a hub of activity, bustling with people of all ages and abilities 363 days a year.
The design of their facility – an impressive 125,000 square foot hub for health and wellness – was critical to fulfilling their mission to provide inclusive programs and services for more than 100,000 visitors annually. A core element of this design was daylight.
The fieldhouse, which includes a 200m 6-lane indoor track, three full regulation basketball courts, a large lobby space with café and reception areas, fitness areas, games spaces and more, was designed by B+H Architects of Toronto.
The unique, curved façade is capped with Advanced Glazings Ltd.’s Solera® glass along the west and east sides of the fieldhouse, illuminating the interior with pure, natural daylight.
“…the [Solera®] glazing system enables light to penetrate deeply and evenly, in addition to reducing the need for artificial lighting in the fieldhouse. This treatment reduces the sharp contrasts between light and dark that can be disturbing to individuals on the autism spectrum,” B+H Architects.
Solera® light diffusing daylighting units brings controlled, usable light into Abilities Centre, filling the expansive space with high-quality, diffused light that is glare-free, evenly-distributed, comfortable, and consistent throughout.
“Natural light really brings a sense of energy to the facility,” shares David Callan, Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy, Abilities Center. “We’re a community hub that sees clients and visitors from many surrounding areas and of varying abilities. Some of our clients have visual challenges, so a well-lit space is critical for them to safely use our facilities.”
“Daylight is inspiring. The connection between good health and daylight has been studied for decades, so Solera was the perfect fit for Abilities Center,” says Michelle Milburn, COO, Advanced Glazings Ltd. “Our founder invented Solera with human comfort in mind – visual, acoustic and thermal. Knowing that we’ve been able to help achieve this for Abilities Centre and their members makes us really proud.”
Solera® insulated glass products are designed to deliver superior daylighted spaces and a wide range of thermal insulation from R2 to R25. Our product lines are engineered to be highly configurable, allowing control of light diffusion and transmittance, control of solar gain, thermal insulation, sound transmittance, aesthetics, safety and more. Our services include illumination, lighting and daylighting analysis, glare/contrast and thermal modelling.
Photo credits: Toni Hafkenscheid