The University of Victoria (UVic) Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) is a world-class multi-storey sporting venue/athletic centre and parkade dedicated to providing state-of-the-art training, recreation, research and learning.
Houle’s scope of work included electrical construction, lighting, and low voltage installations. Project highlights include the CARSA Walk of Excellence, a ramped area leading into the Performance Gym. Houle illuminated the display cases to help highlight the trophies, players, and the history of sports at UVic. The Peninsula Co-op Climbing Wall serves a dual purpose – not only does it provide an exceptional climbing surface for the athletes, it also contributes to the LEED gold certification standards by acting as a funnel, venting warm air out of the building similar to a chimney. Houle equipped the locker rooms with audio visual equipment for game playback.
Targeted to meet LEED gold building standards, Houle installed LED lighting to create energy efficiencies and operational savings. Power metering at multiple voltage levels allows for micro-level monitoring for different loads. All workout and fitness areas are switched via daylighting control to minimize unnecessary power waste.
Houle was required to work in very large spaces with ceilings up to 80 feet high, which created issues for access and wire pulling. This also resulted in some network infrastructure limitations. The Houle team had to plan routes through a discontinuous building with partial floors and levels that were at elevations that differed from the attached parkade.
Accessing the 60 feet tall climbing wall was a challenge, acknowledged early and resolved by pre-wiring the structural components while it was horizontal, before installation. The lighting concept for the climbing wall was to create the illusion of bubbles rising in a waterfall, drawing the eye up into the unique space. This detail was not easy to convey through architectural or electrical drawings.
The choice of Kingspan materials for an exterior skin created an issue as there was a lack of support when installing roof access lighting. Revising the lighting layout with input and buy-in from the owner and consultant team resolved the issue.
Parkade aside, much of the labour was custom, which meant that the team could not always reap the advantages of repetitive labour. In addition, Houle had to be wary of a community who opposed the building’s proposed elevations and potential exterior light pollution.
Incongruous floors also posed a problem. For example, Level 2 in the parkade was not a direct connection to the Concourse Level in the Performance Gym, which in turn did not connect to the Level 2 Field House.
Most of the conduit in the parkade was installed based on five pre-bent pieces, and an entire second floor office area was pre-built as a mock-up and reproduced multiple times. This led to optimal efficiency with assembly. The AutoCAD work for layout clarification and details was completed on-site by the foreman, cutting down on production time and making the documents immediately accessible. There were no recordable incidents or near misses throughout the duration of the project.