Das Rec

New Braunfels, TX
Construction Cost: 20,000,000
Area / Square Feet: 74,028
Occupancy Date: July 2018

Established by a German prince in the mid-1840s, New Braunfels is named after the founder’s native Solms-Braunfels. The city is also home to the Comal Springs, which are fed by the Edwards Aquifer — one of the most prolific artesian aquifers in the world. The 74,000-square-foot Das Rec — which translates simply to “The Rec” — embraces this burgeoning community’s rich German heritage.

Das Rec boasts two indoor pools, two basketball courts, large fitness and group exercise spaces, an indoor track and a variety of multipurpose community rooms. The venue’s overall design aesthetic begins with the large natatorium that offers a competition pool and an expansive recreation pool. The natatorium’s perforated fenestration suggests the permeable rock of the Edwards Aquifer, and the water theme flows throughout the facility — most notably via strategic layering of blue hues. Interior wood screen walls, constructed from reclaimed gymnasium flooring, provide a layered semi-transparent effect — similar to that of limestone, the region’s most reliable and plentiful natural material.

Locally sourced limestone and brick extend the geological theme to Das Rec’s exterior, which loosely borrows from Germany’s venerable 13th-century Braunfels Castle. The recreation center’s epic scale, articulated with varying masses and materials, reflects that of the castle itself, which underwent numerous additions throughout the centuries.