The schematic plan proposes to turn the existing Recreational Sports Center “inside-out”.
The existing facility was characterized by windowless boxes connected by confusing corridors, unfriendly entries, “basement-like” spaces, and no common sense of activity. The rejuvenated facility will provide a new multi-level lobby that brings natural light deep into the heart and lower levels of the building. It will allow visitors to pass through the building and users to check-in through a single central interior control point, all with striking visual connections to virtually every type of activity available in the building. Adjacent to the public lobby will be direct access to major multi-purpose spaces, juice bar, lounge spaces, wellness spaces, classrooms and demonstration kitchen. A direct connection to the Aquatic Center lobby improves both daily operation and swim meet spectator experiences, bringing Purdue visitors a dramatic view of the fitness and recreation activities available. An open central stair provides clear circulation paths and easy access to all parts of the building. Ramps and elevators have been strategically located to provide universal accessibility and support efficient operation of the facility. The visually interesting activities of aquatics and rock climbing are strategically positioned near each entry.
Interior glass wall and overlooks of fitness and gymnasium spaces transmit movement and an exciting sense of activity throughout all five levels of the complex. “Neighborhoods” of fitness spaces located throughout the center will reduce perception of scale to more comfortable levels, allowing differing levels of privacy or interaction for individual fitness environments and attracting a greater diversity of users to participate. Gymnasiums, likewise, are separated into smaller configurations that can provide slightly different character and emphasis for different sports or multi-purpose activities. A new walking/jogging track, located over the central lobby space will provide views of both indoor activity spaces and the Purdue campus.
Maximizing interior impact of natural light deep within the existing building while providing clear glimpses from the exterior of the activities available inside the Student Fitness and Wellness Center is the dominant theme proposed for the building exterior. The southern expansion will bring an overlook of activity to a major campus pedestrian spine, while efficient stacking of new gymnasium spaces within the existing western service courtyard minimizes the impact of a large volume expansion on what is already a massive and “blank” campus structure. Effectively utilizing the existing large brick masses, new glass facades at entries and activity spaces will tie together one of the largest campus buildings into a cohesive whole, with a goal that future students will be challenged to distinguish where original and new spaces begin and end. The building will be designed to meet the functional needs and aesthetic aspirations of the 21st century student, while being respectful of the existing site context and architectural palette of the Purdue campus.