Danville Family YMCA

Danville, VA
Construction Cost: $11.8 million
Area / Square Feet: 50,800
Occupancy Date: September 2014

The new Danville Family YMCA is the first construction on the Dan River in more than a century, and will act as an anchor and catalyst for future development. The newly improved and expanded facility includes a gymnasium, exercise rooms, a walking track, a six-lane pool and a physical therapy center. It offers senior-friendly features, a teen center and a childcare facility.

The building also affords breathtaking views of the water and city beyond, and physically connects users to the river via a public walking trail. The lobby, which serves as a special event space and boasts remarkable views of downtown, becomes the heart of the YMCA with visual connections to the natatorium, wellness center, teen loft, café and rehabilitation center. From there, an easily navigated, light-filled circulation spine links the remainder of program spaces on both levels.

The aesthetic is modern and contemporary, but evocative of Danville’s historic character. Using a simple palette of rich materials such as warm wood contrasting against industrial steel, the structure is reminiscent of the textile mills that once stood on the river, and even incorporates salvaged timbers that had been left behind. The design team also found an opportunity to reuse extracted rock, crushing it into gravel for backfilling. The design is a literal and figurative reworking of the site’s past, but also a symbol of the city’s future.

Judge's Comments

"The building's presence on the river is majestic and impressive — especially in the evening."   — Chris Sgarzi

"This project maximizes its interaction with the site by pushing the entry and activity spaces toward the river."   — Anita Moran

"This structure harmonizes with its natural surroundings, utilizing timeless materials and simple building form."   — Tom Poulos