Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center

Las Cruces, N.M.
Construction Cost: $11 million
Area / Square Feet: 35,000
Occupancy Date: October 2010

The Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center is the largest indoor public recreation facility in the Las Cruces region. Until it opened, public access to swimming was limited to seasonal outdoor pools and an aging fabric-enclosed lap pool. Envisioned as a regional amenity built in phases, the aquatic center is designed to expand and evolve based on recreation and wellness needs.

The 35,000-square-foot first phase includes the overall building core, a lobby, a leisure pool, a therapy pool, lockers and the shell for a fitness center. The next phases will consist of fitness center finishes, a gymnasium, community meeting rooms, a childcare facility and a competitive lap pool.

The exterior design employs many traditional regional techniques to protect the interior from the heat and glare of the desert sun. Deep recesses and roof overhangs, generous window shading, unpainted galvanized metal finishes and textured stucco afford the building a rugged, durable and solid presence familiar to the arid environment. Like a geode, rugged and protective on the exterior yet lined with sparkling mineral crystals inside, the building transforms at night to reveal an open, transparent space bursting with color and activity.