This new multigenerational facility includes group exercise rooms, four community/multipurpose rooms, a two-court gymnasium, indoor aquatics with wet classrooms, fitness and weight training spaces, and a 1/10-mile elevated track. The forested site now surrounded by suburban developments was formerly farmland until the early 1900s. A prominent 175-year willow oak tree dominates the site, with the new building sited approximately 150 yards from this specimen tree.
Building layout is designed to frame views of the surrounding forest and especially the willow oak tree. The central community atrium acts as a circulation spine, with access to the community zone on the east side and the high-volume recreation spaces to the west. “Branch” steel columns march along the gallery as a gesture toward bringing the forest inside. Strategic glazing locations allow the users to connect with the forest in different areas of the building. The gentle curvilinear roof form over the recreation areas reflects the community’s desire to respect the last forested area in Brandywine.
Sustainable design includes an energy-efficient building skin with zinc cladding, clerestory windows for natural daylighting, wide overhangs and solar shading devices, low-VOC interior finishes, low water-consumption toilet fixtures, LED light fixtures, energy-efficient mechanical systems, variable refrigerant flow HVAC/heat recovery for the natatorium, regenerative-media pool filtration, a cistern for rainwater collection, bioswales at parking areas, and directional LED parking light fixtures.