Recreation centers are often designed with abundant interior glass, allowing for visual connectivity between activity spaces, as well as with informal gathering areas where patrons can socialize.

Recreation centers are often designed with abundant interior glass, allowing for visual connectivity between activity spaces, as well as with informal gathering areas where patrons can socialize. The California State University, Long Beach, Student Recreation and Wellness Center combines these two design considerations in the form of laminate-clad, steel-framed window boxes that focus views into each of three fitness studios and protrude far enough from the wall to seat several patrons simultaneously. "It was about taking advantage of the desire for visibility and people queuing to make more of a social event out of a window than just a window in a wall," says Craig Hamilton, a principal with architect of record Cannon Design in Los Angeles. "We wanted to make it wide enough so that someone could really sit on it, and also that it had some visual impact as a frame — so there was an architectural intent to what we were doing, as well."

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.