Addressing the needs of a growing campus, UCR’s new Student Recreation Expansion project supports the physical well-being of its students and creates a new campus hub for social and academic interaction. Integrating with an existing building, the expansion transforms the site into a holistic recreation environment reinforcing the connection between mind and body and addressing the challenges of context, environment, and identity.
The new addition preserves an existing at-grade pedestrian thoroughfare while connecting seamlessly with the University’s existing recreation facilities. This was achieved by locating the majority of wellness functions on a cantilevered second floor “bridge” linked to the existing building across a shaded breezeway.
The curved open plan is a contiguous space with a variety of view orientations and visual connections to the lower levels. The ground floor features extensive shading from the cantilevered upper level and is defined by open glazed fitness areas loosely defined by the opaque volumes of the MAC gym and a circular locker room clad in UCR’s campus blend brick. The design weaves together multiple recreation activities including jogging, rock climbing, fitness, basketball, indoor soccer, weights, physical therapy and swimming. The open concept creates dynamic relationships between the various components enhancing the building’s potential as a place for social engagement.
Students wanted interior spaces to be open and interconnected and capture broad views across campus and to the surrounding mountains. Additionally, the project was required to achieve exemplary energy performance exceeding California’s Title 24 mandate by 30% and acquiring LEED Gold Certification. To achieve these goals, a perforated metal scrim shades the upper floor glazing substantially reducing heat gain and glare while maximizing views and daylight. The shape of this unique undulating screen was derived by mapping the mean annual movement of the sun to generate an optimal shading response. It creates a strong visual identity for the building within the campus context and animates the exterior facade as it changes in transparency and reflectivity throughout the day.