Size: 30,000 SF | Completion: 2019 | Location: Waterloo, ON
Architecture, Civil Engineering, Energy and Carbon Solutions, Mechanical Engineering, Structural Engineering
In 2016, WalterFedy completed a Master Plan for the University of Waterloo to review the potential long-term development of the existing Columbia Ice Fields facility. Our team reviewed the existing functional deficiencies and produced a concept that includes a field house, indoor running track, ice rink, and swimming pool with associated support spaces including an open air stadia, retail, concessions, and sports medicine facility.
Now, on the north end of the University of Waterloo’s main campus, a four-storey tall Warrior emblazoned on a golden background looks out across the football stadium. A symbol of university spirit and pride, the emblem is a bold focal point on the Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House. Completed in 2019, the 65,000 SF facility offers an expansive and divisible turf field and ancillary spaces developed to increase the capacity for drop-in recreation, intramurals, and varsity training.
The Field House is constructed of durable pre-cast concrete, giving the appearance of strength, stability, and permanence. The façade is decorated by texturized concrete to break down the scale, add visual interest, and support a more contemporary look. Large windows jet across the top of the building, allowing natural light to flood the playing field inside.
Providing natural light in the space while maintaining appropriate lighting conditions for players and spectators was crucial to this design. Traditional glass windows can introduce glare that impacts both players and spectators, while direct light creates deep shadows that interfere with games. To mitigate these challenges, the south side of the building incorporates special light-diffusing glass that scatters rays and casts an even glow across the field below.
The ground surface bears resemblance to that of an outdoor turf field. The design incorporates artificial grass with a resilient layer of padding below it to reduce the impact on athletes’ bodies. A drainage layer sits beneath it all for easy maintenance and cleaning.
The soaring ceilings were deliberately designed to accommodate clearance requirements for sports like soccer and football, allowing varsity athletes to practice indoors with relatively few obstructions. The height also allows for the integration of a second-level running track, viewing gallery, and change room facilities, as mapped out in the Recreation Master Plan our team completed for the University in 2017.
Beyond its functional purpose, the Feridun Hamdullahpur Field House represents the University’s ongoing commitment to creating a memorable student experience and prioritizing physical and mental wellbeing. It is a welcome addition to a rapidly growing campus that continues to attract talent from across the globe.
This project was recognized by LEARNING BY DESIGN in 2021 as an Outstanding Project.