Respect for the original State Gym was central to the expansion of Iowa State University's recreation facilities, and the finished project in turn earned the judges' respect.

Not only was State Gym, built in 1913, renovated, it is now flanked by modern amenities ranging from a lobby climbing wall and a fitness skybridge to a natatorium and new three-court gymnasium (each court painted with a different ISU icon from the past) — all housed in a building that shares the original gym's horizontal and vertical rhythm and geometries. Red brick, limestone and concrete surfaces complement the surrounding building material palettes and campus building context.

An open interior design intentionally provides self-policing of activity spaces and a welcoming atmosphere. In fact, card-swipe data indicates that 70 percent of ISU's enrollment now utilizes the school's enhanced recreation offerings. Said one judge, "I can imagine the students love being in this facility."

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Judges' Comments:

Exceptional scale, rhythm and simple use of materials equates to a strong edge at Sheldon Avenue.

–Burke Cartwright

This facility has wonderful visual connections between activity spaces. The restoration of the existing State Gym is beautiful.

–Lindsey Peckinpaugh

Interior layout of program spaces offers multiple views of several activity areas from all vantage points in the building.

–David Dymecki

Architect of Record:

RDG Planning & DesignDes Moines, Iowa

Aquatic Design Engineer:

Counsilman-HunsakerLakewood, Colo.

Cost: $26.79 millionSquare

Footage: 165,514

Funded By: Student feesMajor

Facility Components: Renovated gymnasium, new gymnasium, natatorium, climbing wall, skybridge housing fitness equipment

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.