Penn State University Intramural Building, Phases 1 and 2

University Park, PA
Construction Cost: $84,300,000
Area / Square Feet: 257,191 New Construction; 117,039 Renovation
Occupancy Date: August 2017

The multiphased masterplan for the Penn State University Intramural Building was to position the building as an important hub for all major recreation and social activities on campus. The owner desired a dynamic and energizing atmosphere to reinforce the importance of active health and wellness programs at the university, and they were very interested in impacting the behavior of students to drive health and wellness outcomes.

This responsive design of the exterior coupled with the clients’ desire for a simple yet timeless and a sophisticated focus led to a consensus design story. The “criss-cross courtyard concept” involves one simple building-angle-formed gesture to the new campus gateway intersection with views of the Nittany Mountains, and one simple building-angle-formed gesture back toward the main campus, where they cross at the main entry courtyard and plaza to the facility. The slanted nature of the building forms allows the building to gracefully pull itself off the main street to provide engaging pedestrian-oriented plaza space, as well as establish clear wayfinding to the building entry, day or night. All other future-phase building facades continued this strategy, shifting and aligning planes with views and connections with surroundings.

The design solution has significantly grown the student recreation spaces and their capacity. The concept of fitness neighborhoods allows all types of individuals to feel comfortable challenging themselves physically. The building gives the students a memorable place where they often return, stay involved and engage in healthful activity.

Penn State

Judge's Comments

“Adding to the ‘dumb box’ a beautiful glass-fronted additional makes the whole complex new.” — Don Jones

“Despite a complex, phased expansion, the architect has developed a unified exterior that fits with the campus architecture.” — Anita Moran

“Excellent concept to surround the existing building with new construction. The result is the look of a completely new facility.” — Adam Bastjan