"Simple." "Refined." "Restrained." Judges agreed that the Georgia College & State University Wellness and Recreation Center exemplifies understated elegance inside and out.

The building's exterior greets visitors with separate and distinctive walls of glass, creating an iconic front door to the west campus. Transparency is also critical to the interior design, which features unobstructed views from the front desk across the glass-enclosed gymnasium, and large expanses of curtain wall providing visual connection to both interior activity and adjacent green spaces.

High-performance glazing and heavily fritted glass were chosen in pursuit of LEED Silver certification, and exterior sun-control devices allow for efficient daylighting of interior spaces. Additional sustainable design strategies included the employment of energy-efficient mechanical systems, bio-retention, recyclable materials and a "super insulated" roof and envelope.

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Judges' Comments:

The building massing is not only nicely refined but also well used in strategically bringing in natural lighting to key spaces that in turn helps to create a dynamic interior.

–Mark Hentze


Restrained and appropriate use of materials inside and out, resulting in an enduring asset to the campus and students.

–Burke Cartwright


Very well done. Clean and simple.

–Steve Durham


Architect of Record:

Menefee Architecture
Atlanta, Ga.

Associate Architect:

Cannon Design
Boston, Mass.

Aquatic Design Engineer:

St. Louis, Mo.

Programming Consultant:

Brailsford & Dunlavey
Washington, D.C.

Cost: $24.6 million

Square Footage: 104,000

Funded By: Student FeesMajor

Facility Components: Gymnasium with elevated jogging track, competitive and leisure swimming pools, climbing wall, fitness and weight training areas

The 2013 Athletic Business® Facilities of Merit™awards were recently selected by a panel of sports and recreation facility architects during two days of judging in Madison, Wis. The 10 winners are being announced in this space during these two weeks, and profiles of all 10 will appear in the November issue ofAthletic Business. The awards will be presented to the facility owners and architects at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in San Diego on Friday, Nov. 22.