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Southwest
Recreation
Center
Expansion

Client
University of Florida
Location
Gainesville, FL
Size
40,755 SF
Completion date
August 2010

Glass, glass, glass. This project is all about showcasing the facility's interior activities to those driving and walking by and providing users with maximum opportunities to look outside. 

Building transparency was also important to the University because the site is located at one of the main entrances to campus. Inside, the building is open with jogging and cardio space sharing the two levels at the front of the building. An activity room and offices round out the addition. Existing cardio space is transformed into a personal training studio with a spa-like atmosphere. The project took the little space left after the building expansion and used the need for stormwater detention to create an ephemeral water feature that brings water from the building's roof onto the site through a series of runnels that eventually cascade into a series of rain gardens, filled with native Florida plants and boulders. This system, while beautiful, also works to clean, cool and slow the stormwater down, allowing for infiltration of some water before it flows into the regional stormwater system.    The incorporation of public art into the rain gardens further enhances the overall site aesthetic. "Thirst" is a site-specific installation that interprets water in the bio-swales onsite in an immediate and visual way. Water is pulled up from the bio-swales, drawing nutrients into the organic forms that grow on the site. The sculptural columns suggest the root structure of the palmetto palm, almost like human tissue, symbolic of the common denominators between plant and animal and our shared dependence upon water. Water is represented by blue light that illuminates the bio-swale path at night. Purchased in 2010 with funds provided by Florida's Art in State Buildings Program (F.S. 255.043) 

Awards
Outstanding Sports Facility Award
National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA)
2012
Regional Lighting Awards
Iowa/ Minnesota Illuminating Engineering Society
2011
National Lighting Award of Merit
Illuminating Engineering Society
2011