Premium Partners

California State University, Northridge

Northridge, Calif.
Construction Cost: $41 million
Area / Square Feet: 120,000
Occupancy Date: December 2011

The recreation center at California State University Northridge was conceived nearly 20 years ago when campus facility planners anticipated the growing demand for student recreational space, as well as the need for a recruiting tool for prospective students. The resulting facility includes basketball courts, a multipurpose activity court, a climbing wall, a running track, a racquetball court, fitness areas, multipurpose studios and a 7,400-square-foot leisure pool.

The building's design follows the repeated use of a 60-foot-wide module that incorporates structural, mechanical and electrical solutions to enhance the building's performance (module width was based on the width of a basketball court). This module extrusion, along with a cost-effective corrugated metal skin for most of the envelope, offset the cost of the other more expensive materials, such as interior wood surfaces and the structural glass of the east facade’s "human billboard."

In keeping with the university's mission as a sustainable campus, materials such as polycarbonate resin panels were selected as partitions for their high recycled content and durability. Polished concrete floors were used for their ease of maintenance. FSC-certified wood was specified throughout the interior for sports surfaces, as well as wall finish in select areas. Additional sustainable design features include daylighting from more than 50 skylights, a rooftop photovoltaic installation, displacement ventilation beneath gym bleachers, and a ReRev system that uses some of the center’s exercise equipment to generate power.

Judge's Comments

This is a bold and graphic building with a clear, integrated design approach to the exterior and interior expression. Cloaked in a metal sunscreen veil, the facility transforms from opaque to illuminated at night. This project presents a fresh and exciting contemporary model for today's student recreation center.
— Jim Kalvelage, Opsis Architecture

I loved the structural columns coming up at these angles and running around the track inside the structure — it just seemed like a really great space to inhabit.
— Robert McDonald, Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative

This project was so sophisticated — not only was there great juxtaposition between the two facades, but they just took every detail through the building and made it consistent.
— Stefanie Greenfield, Cambridge Seven Associates