Facilities of Merit 2011: University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

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University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

Iowa City, Iowa 2011
Year in Showcase: 2011

Project Description

Connectivity and transparency mark the University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. As one panelist explained, "While maintaining a unified and strong image on a major campus street, three user groups are clearly separated internally, while interior views connect activity spaces in 'walls' of activity and interest."

Student fitness and recreation occupies the most central location of the three, spread through the north and central portions of the CRWC over a series of three levels that are open to each other. The wellness and recreation administration suites are located in the two-level east portion, while the aquatic center anchors the western portion. The natatorium was particularly lauded by the judges for its iconic dive tower featuring an internally lit spine ("Its detailing and execution are terrific," said one). Home to a competition pool, dive pool and leisure pool — with the latter separated by a full-length glass wall to allow its use during swim/dive team practices, as well as precise control of the leisure pool's higher temperature environs — the space is filled with natural daylight and provides views into and from many other CRWC activity areas.

The effect is much the same on the building's exterior, with the north portion harvesting daylight through what amounts to a series of transparent interlocking "boxes" set on a columnar structural system. The boxes, through which the fitness spaces are visible to passersby, are set in front of a backdrop that houses the aquatic center, gymnasiums, multi-activity spaces and a climbing wall that stands 58 feet tall.

Judge's Comments

The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center has powerful energy within its industrial urban look. The dynamic spaces, views and gestures celebrate everything this building is about.
Mark Williams

Creative use of a tight site featuring an efficient plan that utilizes indoor glass for an unparalleled amount of interior and exterior transparency. Three user groups are clearly separated internally, while interior views connect activity spaces in "walls" of activity and interest.
Mark Bodien

The design team was able to take very large programmatic spaces and organize them in a way that is easy to understand for its patrons. There's a high level of openness and transparency that adds a fantastic vibrance throughout.
Jeff Piette

Project Details

Architect: RDG Planning & Design; Des Moines, Iowa
Aquatic Design Engineer: Counsilman-Hunsaker; Lakewood, Colo.
Funded By: Student fees, athletic department funds
Major Facility Components: Natatorium, fitness center, gymnasium, track, MAC, climbing wall, activity rooms
Construction Cost: $51.3 million
Square Feet: 215,000
Occupancy: August 2010

Basketball: Robbins Sports Surfaces

Basketball Backboards/Supports: Porter Athletic Inc.

Bulkheads: Stark Bulkhead Co.

Cardiovascular Equipment: Stair Master/Schwinn

Cardiovascular Equipment: Life Fitness

Cardiovascular Equipment: Matrix Fitness

Cardiovascular Equipment: Nova

Cardiovascular Equipment: Star Trac

Cardiovascular Equipment: Precor Incorporated

Cardiovascular Equipment: Woodway

Chemical Control Systems: Palintest

Chemical Control Systems: Taylor Technologies

Chemical Control Systems: Signet

Chemical Control Systems: BECS Technology Inc.

Cleaners/Vacuums: Aqua Products Inc.

Climbing Walls: Entre Prises Climbing Walls

Divider Curtains: Porter Athletic Inc.

Diving Boards: Duraflex Int'l Corp.

Filtration Systems: Nemato Corp.

Flooring, Aerobics: Robbins Sports Surfaces

Flooring, Fitness Center: Mondo

Free-Weight Equipment: Sorinex Exercise Equipment

Free-Weight Equipment: Power Systems

Gutters: Lawson Aquatics Inc.

Ladders/Grab Bars: Spectrum Scoreboards, Paragon Stair & Rail

Lane Markers: Paragon Aquatics, Div. of Pentair

Lane Markers: Competitor Swim Products

Lockers: Digilock

Lockers: Hollman Lockers & Courts Inc.

Lockers: Superior

Lockers: Saf-O-Mat

Lockers: Spec-Rite Designs

Sanitization Systems: Arch Water Products

Sanitization Systems: Stenner Pumps

Sanitization Systems: Flomotion Systems

Sanitization Systems: Hanovia

Scoreboard/Timing Systems: Daktronics Inc.

Shower/Toilet Partitions: Scranton Products

Starting Blocks: S.R. Smith

Strength Equipment: Matrix Fitness

Strength Equipment: Life Fitness

Track: Mondo

Volleyball Nets and Standards: Porter Athletic Inc.

Water Play Features: Rain Drop Products LLC

Water Play Features: Dunn Rite Products

Water Play Features: Crystal Fountains