“Adding on from the middle” was the theme of this expansion and renovation of the existing student recreation facilities on the 24,000-student Oklahoma State University campus.
A bland 1960s institutional building, the existing brick structure had little presence among the traditional neo- Georgian buildings in the historic parts of campus. Demands for added capacity in activity courts and fitness areas, as well as the addition of new recreation spaces, are met through the large expansion. Meanwhile, the gutting of all but the existing gyms and lap pool allowed the entire facility to reorganize circulation patterns into an open, visually connected, dynamic flow of space and activity.
The seamlessly renovated interior challenges visitors to determine what is new and what previously existed. A central control desk at the heart of the facility adjoins the new three-level fitness atrium and open circular stair, providing views of the entire range of available activities. Multipurpose group exercise rooms at the entry level overlook the fitness atrium and new climbing wall. On the main lower activity level, a central ramp naturally directs traffic from the entry through the atrium, and the continuous sense of movement is reinforced by the open jogging track that circles above.
The architectural challenge was to change the facility’s image to reflect the traditional campus while not looking like an addition. With the new lantern tower over the main fitness atrium, the rejuvenated facility now provides a high-profile recreation presence on campus.