Excelsior Springs Community Center

Excelsior Springs, MO
Construction Cost: $15,300,000
Area / Square Feet: 50,000
Occupancy Date: October 2016

Located on a highly visible site shared with school district facilities, the new community center offers a variety of amenities for members of all ages, including a gymnasium with an elevated walking track, an indoor pool, a weight room, racquetball courts, studio fitness space, event rooms, a catering kitchen and a childcare center. Design inspiration was drawn from the steeply sloping site, the city’s mineral water heritage and the human body.

Rather than flattening the site, activity zones were organized to step down the hillside. Inside, a ramped circulation spine connects all interior spaces and acts as an extended exercise path. Similar to the body’s concealed systems (muscular, skeletal, circulatory), a building’s concealed systems (mechanical, structural, electrical) are essential to its function. Rather than hide these systems, the design highlights their contribution to the building’s aesthetic.

The architecture and interior design drew from Mayan traditions related to water and water gods. Each activity zone is accented with a distinctive color, inspired by the WPA-era Hall of Waters, a beautiful Art Deco building that once served as a bottling facility for the healing mineral waters of Excelsior Springs. In addition to creating a dynamic environment, the color scheme also serves a wayfinding function within the facility.