Boll Family YMCA

Detroit, MI
Construction Cost: $24.5 million
Area / Square Feet: 100,000
Occupancy Date: December 2005

Not your average YMCA,? in the words of one judge, the Boll Family YMCA is intended to be a catalyst for the re-energizing of Detroit?s downtown. Utilizing an architectural expression that features a series of ?boxes? stacked upon one another and held together by vertical seamed-metal panels, the building boasts glass curtainwall throughout to allow views of the many activities. The wellness box is stilted on narrow concrete columns above the building?s entrance, while the natatorium is placed a half-level below the entrance and is clad with ground-faced concrete block at street level. The judging panel took note of the interior?s interesting mix of materials ? metal panels, glass, brick and ground-faced concrete block ? which, along with a variety of colors, are used to distinguish various programming spaces. From the lobby, a number of areas on multiple levels can be seen, including the black-box theater behind lighted glass, a climbing wall, the members? lounge, and a caf? and reception desk.

Judge's Comments

The three-story solution is unique for this type of building. Even though site space was at a premium, retaining some open space is a great way to provide a sense of entry and community.
— John Linstaedt

This project does a beautiful job of stacking spaces vertically, thereby relating to the urban context.
— Tom Betti

A compact and urbanely appropriate design solution; it could have been a windowless fortress, but instead advertises to the city the importance of YMCAs.
— Erik Kocher