Constructed in the early 1900s, the University Field House originally functioned as an airplane hangar in the state of Washington. After World War II, it was transported to its current location on the University of Minnesota campus. Named the Indoor Sports Building until 1954, the newly renovated facility is managed by University Recreation and Wellness and home to the Golden Gophers track and field teams.
The university’s commitment to enhancing existing assets while conserving the building’s history rejuvenated the facility and further encouraged lifelong wellbeing, with the 2019 renovation transforming the facility into a modern and versatile space. The primary interior elements of the project include a resurfaced 6-lane, 200-meter track with lines for two basketball and two tennis courts within the track’s interior. A 16,800-square-foot synthetic turf field now occupies space previously dedicated to four basketball courts.
Exterior wall panels were replaced with an efficient insulated metal panel system and translucent glazing system. These two materials created a high-performing building envelope that brought an abundance of daylight into the space, highlighting the beauty of the original bowstring timber trusses. New window openings were created in the masonry exterior walls, creating views to the indoor activity by those traveling on University Avenue. The defining design feature is the addition of a custom corrugated metal panel rainscreen over the insulated metal panels, playing with pattern densities to create a sense of acceleration along the building’s facade.