George S. Eccles Student Life Center - University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT
Construction Cost: $41.4 million
Area / Square Feet: 168,000
Occupancy Date: December 2014

The George S. Eccles Student Life Center was designed to connect and incorporate all aspects of student life. Student involvement in the early design stages coupled with consideration for future needs resulted in a space for recreation, relaxation and socializing.

The first floor is intended for circulation through the building and is home to campus-wide amenities such as a credit union, a smoothie bar and the Outdoor Adventures program. Upper floors house the primary building functions.

Interior and exterior design was inspired by the state’s natural beauty. The building’s orange-and-red color scheme evokes desert landscapes, and angular surfaces throughout draw from the mountains that surround campus. Metal paneling, terra cotta rain screen and glazed aluminum curtain wall make up the building’s exterior.

The recreation center features a natatorium with a 50-meter lap pool, a leisure pool and a whirlpool. The two-level, 17,000-square-foot fitness center has cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights. A suspended running track provides 360-degree views of the surrounding valley, foothills and mountains. Skylights provide natural light to interior spaces, including the three-court gym. The facility also features a four-story climbing wall, a bouldering area, racquetball courts, group fitness rooms, locker rooms and offices.

Since opening, program participation has increased, and facility use has increased by nearly 50 percent.

Judge's Comments

"Cohesive, integrated exterior and interior design appropriate to the site." — Katie Barnes

"This facility has a beautiful nighttime presence due to the amount, color and pattern of glazing." — Tracy Carusi

"Very nice palette of exterior materials that hang together nicely. Welcoming atmosphere." — Dave Larson