Coppin State University Physical Education Complex

Baltimore, Md.
Construction Cost: $95.1 million
Area / Square Feet: 256,000
Occupancy Date: January 2010

The Physical Education Complex anchors the north end of the expanded Coppin State University campus. If the north side of the building is considered its primary public face, the south end of the long east bar is its main campus entrance. This bar is articulated as three low brick boxes that step with the topography. The wall of the south face is glass, which is used to communicate to passersby the activities housed in the building. The campus side of the building faces athletic fields and appears to sit on a raised plinth, the concrete face of which curves sympathetically with a running track. Covered porches and terraces help to connect public and campus spaces, while articulating the different functions that occur inside.

Students may enter the north side of the building (a lobby is situated between a performance arena and a natatorium) or, more likely, the south end of the east side. An auxiliary gym, multipurpose gym, racquetball courts, locker rooms, classrooms, faculty offices, weight training and fitness areas, and a dance studio are all located along the primary circulation path that extends the length of the facility. Each space is carefully positioned to offer students views from interior circulation and exterior terraces and plazas.

The interior palette of materials is mostly neutral, with tones of wood, concrete and ground-faced block paired with accents of blue and yellow, the school colors. Custom wood louvers are strategically placed to visually link the public concourse outside the arena to the east lobby. The louvers function as room dividers, sunscreens and wayfinding devices along the primary circulation path.