Award Winner - May/June 2004
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Fitcorp-600 MIT Technology Square
Cambridge, Mass.


S u b m i t t e d    b y:

sasaki associates, inc. in watertown, mass.

8,000 square feet

Project cost:

Quick tour:

  • 2,500-square-foot strength-training and cardio area
  • 1,280-square-foot group-fitness room
  • 990-square-foot men's locker rooms
  • 1,070-square-foot women's locker rooms

Sometimes you just have to pick up and move. There simply is no choice. Although it was only a year old, such was the fate of the 12,000-square-foot Fitcorp health club located in MIT's Technology Square in Cambridge, Mass.

This particular Fitcorp outlet was located in the windowless basement of a renovated and expanded office/laboratory complex, but when a development deal for the building was struck, Fitcorp had to be relocated—effective immediately. Luckily, the club could move to the street-level space next door, with the landlord picking up the tab. Planners scrambled with only five short weeks for design and documentation and 12 weeks for construction.

"It was a real job, but it's a beautiful center," says Gary Klencheski, CEO, president and founder of Fitcorp. "It was a tough space to work with because it wasn't as big. It's a very efficient use of space." In fact, the new 8,000-square-foot, first-floor space is actually 25 percent smaller than the former basement space—although the membership numbers remained the same.

"The challenge was creating something equally as exciting, but we had to do it on a smaller scale," says Michael Bourque, principal in charge with Sasaki Associates, Inc. in Watertown, Mass. The new ground-level digs have a much different appeal. For starters, the new space was radically different because of its abundance of natural light thanks to the full-height glass walls on all sides.

"We had a lot of glass, which was good and bad," Bourque says. While the flood of natural light is wonderful, full glass walls aren't the most practical thing for locker room areas, for obvious X-rated reasons, unless you're building a whole other breed of club. So the designers had to build false walls for the locker rooms to create the required privacy. On the upside, the full-height glass walls grant the center a high visibility, while the members gain direct views to the outdoors.

"This fitness center is more like retail space," says Bryan Dunkelberger, project designer with Sasaki. "The challenge was how do we make it interesting on the inside since we can't change the outside?" To jazz up the interior, a yellow circular ceiling form pretends to be supported by the cross bracing. A second circular ceiling form in the aerobics room is linked to the first by a curved soffit that starts at the front door. The soffit highlights a pathway through the space. Meanwhile, the bold color palette plays off of the Fitcorp blue and red logo colors.

"We're using the colors to help brand them," Dunkelberger says. With 800 members, this club is one of 34 centers run by Fitcorp.

"All of our centers are located where people work," Klencheski says. "The color scheme is great; we like it so much it's become the color scheme for our new centers."

J u d g e s '   N o t e s

"The facility demonstrates a great use of simple color and geometric treatments to create lively spaces."

Kenneth Ward

Colorful, energetic—lots of natural light. Good use of available space. Open space but broken into small zones for comfort of the user."

mark wentzell

"Exciting indoor space with punches of color that have a lot of impact. Good interior layout. Very interesting use of ceiling soffits."

Christell Leonard

"Fun energetic shapes. Nice use of limited space."

james kemper

A s s o c i a t e d    F i r m s

Audio Visual

MASS Communications


Spaulding & Slye Construction

Mechanical/electrical and plumbing consultants

AHA Consulting Engineers

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