The Walter C. Johnson Center for Health and Wellness gracefully fits into the landscape of the Hackley School campus. Biophilic and sustainable elements enable the large facility to blend into the site and function as a dynamic connector between academic buildings, athletic fields and nearby woodlands. Two major garden courtyards surround a central lobby with clear views to all major venues and to the surrounding environment.
The unique character of the site was a major design driver. The site’s 30-foot change in elevation and large boulders were incorporated in an effort to honor the history of student connections with nature in an evolving wellness program.
The natatorium fits into the lowest elevation, while two basketball gyms, a squash center, and a fitness center sit atop the rocky plateau of the site to minimize the building’s height. The large venues contour around existing trees and boulders to preserve the character of the site, and a bioswale stormwater system moves through a cascading network of waterfalls down the hillsides. Exterior cladding employs warm brown tones to match the woodlands, as well as large transparent glazing throughout.
Natural light is brought into athletic venues traditionally devoid of sunlight through skylights and windows using electrochromic glazing to avoid glare. The LEED Gold facility also includes salvaged materials, LED lighting, solar panels and innovative uses of chilled beams and displacement air systems.