Montana State University’s new athletic and recreation field complex is designed around the goal of creating a destination that “encourages personal development, enhances academic productivity, and enriches wellbeing for students and the MSU community.” The complex provides a much-needed year-round outdoor space to help achieve these goals.
Set to the south of downtown Bozeman with distant views to the Bridger Mountain Range, the building serves as a landscape feature taking cues from regional agrarian typologies. The pavilion uses the interplay between natural and man-made materials to create a contextual response to place that feels appropriate in scale and massing.
The design is defined by a strong horizontal roof form that unifies a covered viewing patio and indoor support space. Vertical steel columns gently support a wood roof structure, which spans the corrugated-metal support building. These simple moves create a clarity and order in which materials are used: wood defines the horizontal, while metal defines the vertical.
The field is sized for multiple NCAA-regulation sports to use year-round, providing valuable space for activity when the rest of the fields are covered with snow. MSU recreational teams including rugby, lacrosse and soccer now use the facility for practices previously scheduled on other programs’ fields. The support facility houses two team changing rooms, public restrooms, training and first aid space, and sports and field maintenance storage. The roof form is used to shelter and shade students and spectators on the viewing patio during large gatherings.