With its all-glass facade, a 2014 addition to the Kline Athletic Center at Dickinson College employs a shading system of vertical steel tubes spaced from the curtainwall at varying dimensions.

Building orientation dictated these variations in the interest of minimizing interior heat-gain — more space behind the shade structure facing west than the one to the east, for example — with the exception of the facility's southern elevation. Here, a member of Dickinson's design committee half-jokingly asked if enough separation between building and shade structure could be specified to create an exterior porch on which he might read the Sunday New York Times. CannonDesign's John Reed thought it was a great idea, and this deviation from the heat-gain modeling resulted in a multipurpose programming space that now hosts outdoor yoga and cycling classes, as well as ballet camp performances, on a 20-by-75-foot Brazilian mahogany floor. At the termination of these wooden planks is an expanse of stone paver, with a landscaped berm beyond — all sunk below street level and engineered with a subgrade water-retention system. "It's its own little world down there, and quieter than most parts of campus," says Reed, a design principal who emphasizes the importance of client input. "As architects, we're trying to make everybody happy. But one thing I've discovered as I've gotten older is that if you just listen to your client, there are amazing things coming out of their mouths, and a lot of people miss it. You have to just be open to hearing other people's ideas."

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Design Details" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.