• Putting Together a Sponsorship Policy for Parks and Rec Programs

    by Emily Attwood August 2013

    Joe Brown knows how to make things happen. Thus far in his first year as director of the Reynoldsburg (Ohio) Parks and Recreation Department, he has raised $21,000 in sponsorship funds, nearly half of his $45,000 target.

  • Kroc Center Challenges Will Continue After Construction's Done

    by Andrew Cohen April 2013

    The late-February opening of a 104,000-square-foot facility in Memphis, Tenn., meant that the Salvation Army could count 23 Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers in all. ...

  • U. of Iowa Climbing Wall Closed After Student Falls

    by Emily Attwood November 2012

    The rock climbing wall at the University of Iowa is closed indefinitely after a fall landed one student in the hospital on Nov. 9. Business student Spencer Bean, an experienced climber who is also an employee of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, fell 30 feet, landing upright on his feet. He remained conscious and coherent for a few moments before passing out.

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: East Oakland Sports Center

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    Boasting one of the few recreational natatoriums in the country for underserved populations, the East Oakland Sports Center was lauded by the judges both for its design and for what it means to the community it serves. The project has a long history: The architect began working to bring it to fruition in 1999, when the city and then-city council president identified Ira Jinkins Park as the future site of a new community recreation and aquatics center. Although popular, the park, like the neighborhood in which it was located, suffered from blight and crime, and local youths had few opportunities to access recreational facilities.

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: Hillcrest Centre

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    Hillcrest Centre now has two Facility of Merit awards to its credit - it adjoins the previously completed Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest Park, which AB honored in 2011. Formerly the temporary-use 2010 Vancouver Olympics curling venue, this project involved the conversion of the shell space into a variety of legacy community uses. Materials selection was key to the judges' enthusiasm; angling for LEED Gold certification, the designers specified wood interior cladding, window casings and millwork throughout the facility, more than half of which was Forest Stewardship Council-certified. "They used a very sophisticated palette of materials," one judge commented. "It was like art. At the same time, I felt like it didn't take itself too seriously - there was a genuine playfulness about the overall facility that made it extremely welcoming."

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    Housing a mix of public and private uses - the ground floor incorporates retail storefronts, and upper floors are occupied by the Student Recreation Center, the university chancellor's office, the PSU School of Social Work and the City Archives - this collaborative effort between Portland State University, the City of Portland and the State of Oregon was among the most intriguing projects to AB's panel of judges. "It was a really complicated program that all had to be condensed onto one urban block," one judge noted, "and the way the designers layered different functions on different floors was really interesting. They put retail on grade, and then were audacious enough to put a pool over the retail."

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: California State University Northridge Student Recreation Center

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    Situated on the outer fringe of the CSU Northridge campus between future sports fields to the east and existing campus buildings to the west, the site of this new recreation center provided an opportunity for the building to delineate a new campus edge to the community, while establishing a terminus to the campus' main pedestrian axis. Utilizing this singular position, the east façade is comprised primarily of glass, creating a "human billboard" that reveals the activities within and addresses the university's desire to advertise the recreation programs provided by the university. It's the west façade that really caught the judges' attention, however: The three-story lobby is protected by a perforated metal veil that allows the introduction of light and maintains visibility of activities, but reads differently depending on the time of day. Commented one judge, "It's monolithic and solid by day, providing a continual play of shadows as the light changes, and transforming in the twilight to a transparent vision - a building in flux."

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: Brant Sports Complex

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    AB's panel of judges found a lot to love in this small public ice complex in Paris, Ont., beginning with its advantageous use of a constrained but sloping site to allow players and spectators to enter at different levels at either end of a two-story glazed gallery. Initially viewed as an obstacle to arena design, the site's constraints were eventually embraced as offering an opportunity to reduce the mass of the building and to celebrate the activity taking place there. Running the entire length of the arena's north façade, the resulting gallery creates an architectural billboard by using ample glazing and fritted glass graphics that together broadcast activity to the surrounding community.

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: University of Massachusetts Amherst Recreation Center

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    Prominently sited along the university's main thoroughfare, this recreation center project centers on a public concourse that extends through the building and reaches out to the east in the form of a new landscaped quadrangle, thus creating a link between campus athletic and academic facilities. Inclusion of the new quadrangle reflects the university's commitment to a pedestrian-friendly campus and speaks to a perceived paucity of high-quality outdoor space offering opportunities for relaxation, informal recreation and socializing.

  • 2012 Facility of Merit Winner: University of Central Missouri Student Recreation & Wellness Center Renovation and Expansion

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    It's a complicated renovation and addition, involving co-locating two programs within three formerly separate historic stone buildings on a tight site fronting a campus quadrangle, but the solution is actually quite simple, said AB's panel of judges. Wrapping the 1938 Morrow gymnasium so that the new structure bridges the gaps between that building and two other older buildings, the plan transforms the Morrow gym by inserting a new fitness mezzanine and expands a contemporary image to the east with a new addition. The addition was by far the most notable element, the judges said, with the new, gleaming curtainwall becoming a complementary element to the perpendicular, textured stone building on its flank. "It's all about the height, the scale and proportion of it," remarked one judge. "It really celebrates the historic buildings, and that clear juxtaposition of what was new and what was old made it a very exciting project."