University of Maine Student Recreation and Fitness Center

Orono, ME
Construction Cost: $16.9 million
Area / Square Feet: 87,919
Occupancy Date: August 2007

Superb interior and exterior finishes, including ample amounts of locally harvested wood, distinguished the University of Maine Student Recreation and Fitness Center in the eyes of the judges. Located on a heavily wooded site, the center (the largest project ever undertaken by the University of Maine) features an exterior palette of copper panels containing 90 percent post-industrial recycled metal that clad the volumes of the second-level fitness area along the south facade and the natatorium on the west. Precast concrete panels form the walls of the main three-court gymnasium, and a veneer of local South Bay quartzite stone on the face of the building?s lower level provides a strong base. Intersecting skylit galleries form the primary circulation paths and organize the facility?s main recreational components. Glue-laminated wood timber columns line these circulation paths, as well as the perimeters of the gymnasium and natatorium.

Judge's Comments

Nicely detailed exterior combines copper, stone and glass into strong organizing elements. Interiors are very simply and cleanly detailed.
— Philip Laird

Locally harvested and manufactured wood structure and finish provide a unique aesthetic and appropriate connection to the surrounding wooded context.
— John Kane

Bold exterior forms with a rich contemporary blend of materials express and complement the building's geometry. The functional plan reflects the building massing.
— Tom Poulos