Brooks Family YMCA

Charlottesville, VA
Construction Cost: $15,300,000
Area / Square Feet: 75,000 SF
Occupancy Date: June 2017

The Brooks Family YMCA fosters shared experiences of play, friendship,

camaraderie and competition to enhance health and wellness for the Charlottesville community. Prioritizing the community-based principles of the YMCA, the design provides natural overlaps where members may share experiences, make new friends and develop a sense of belonging.

Located in McIntire Park, Charlottesville’s largest and most central public park, the Brooks Family YMCA consists of a variety of multigenerational spaces serving diverse ages, abilities, programming and fitness levels.

Amenities include a family aquatics center, a multipurpose double gymnasium with an elevated running track, a central fitness room, a variety of group exercise rooms — including spaces dedicated to mind/body and cycling classes — a lobby doubling as a community multipurpose room, play

areas for children, and a teen center that supports collaboration with CharlottesvillenHigh School’s AVID and youth development


Carefully sited to preserve existing park fields and recreation areas, the Brooks Family YMCA is built into a slope, lowering the perceived massing of the entry and nestling the building next to mature woods for expansive views to nature. Generous windows, ample daylighting, and transparent details contribute to a sense of openness and communion with the surrounding natural setting.

The application of a perforated screen around the building’s exterior transforms a humble material into a special design feature that optimizes daylighting and energy efficiency while facilitating a special daytime-to-nighttime transformation — where the building’s multipurpose lobby

is illuminated as a welcoming portal for a shared community experience.