Modernizing a 50-year-old YMCA involved transforming its existing gymnasium — one of few programming spaces that survived the original building — from a dated cinderblock box into a brighter, more welcoming recreation destination.
Kahler Slater accomplished this by converting the southern wall to translucent panels and painting a second wall with a design that creates the feeling of an entirely different facility. Along with floor refinishing and equipment upgrades, these wall touches produced a new gymnasium experience at roughly one-third the cost of constructing a new gym. The paneled wall features prominently in the Y's exterior aesthetic, as well. "The challenge was to take a space that was previously one of the least memorable experiences in the existing facility and turn it into a gem," says Kahler Slater associate principal and project designer Adam Bastjan. "Full integration into the new design was key — there should be no delineation of what is new versus what is existing. The translucent wall panels paired with a bold yet refined wall graphic mask the existing structure and focus the occupants on the newly introduced flood of natural light.
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Bold wall touches transform gym into modern gem." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.