Award Winner - May 2010
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Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, Calvin College

Grand Rapids, Michigan

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

GMB Architecture + Engineering in Holland, Mich.

Size: 362,000 square feet

Project Cost: $50 million

Quick Tour:

  • Van Noord Arena: 5,000 seats for athletic events/6,000 seats for concert events; moveable bleacher system; four full-size basketball courts; hospitality suite; service kitchen; two weights and fitness centers; training room; 10 locker rooms; two concessions areas; 40-by-80-foot climbing wall; Spirit Store
  • Venema Aquatic Center: Olympic-sized 50-meter pool; moveable bulkhead; 500-seat viewing gallery; four diving boards; 4-foot depth at center for instruction Hoogenboom Health and Recreation Center: three basketball courts; racquetball court; two dance studios; renovated locker rooms; health services clinic; academic offices; five classrooms; human performance lab
  • Huizenga Track & Tennis Center: 200-meter track; four tennis courts; divider curtains; two pole vault pits; two long jump pits


he Calvin College Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex was designed as a true multi-use, multipurpose facility. As the only dedicated recreational facility on a campus of 4,000 students, the goal was to create activity centers where students and staff can develop and practice healthy habits on a daily basis, in addition to providing premier NCAA Division III performance venues.

For a goal to create a multifunctional space that could unite all end users, an aesthetic grew out of creating relationships between the interior and exterior, public and recreation spaces, and weaving together human movement with the celebration of nature.

The program called for adding 292,000 square feet to an existing 70,000-square-foot Physical Education building that was showing its age. But possibilities for expansion were constrained by other elements nearby, and it was important to stay true to the existing architectural style of the campus. The design solution needed to create a human scale adjacent to the dormitories, but this desire for low, horizontal lines was contrary to the typically monumental nature of performance and athletic spaces. The solution created long hanging eaves on the larger volumes, while the mass of the building was tiered to the south toward the pedestrian way.

Programmatically, the public weights and fitness area became the buffer between the arena and campus, allowing for expansive glass to connect the interior and exterior, while also creating a highly visible fitness component. On the Aquatic Center, a portico acts as a complement to the weights and fitness massing on the arena, and also creates a sunshade on the south side of the pool, allowing for a stunning glass façade connection to campus.

Van Noord Arena, a 5,000-seat basketball and volleyball performance venue with a state-of-the-art wood floor. This space can also be transformed for academic use or practice courts. Two new weights and fitness rooms allow for one dedicated public-use center and one for academic and athletic use.

The multi-use nature of the facility, in addition to quadrupling the size of the original building, has opened the recreational possibilities for campus users. The result has been a stunning increase in general recreational use and has accomplished the goal of creating a campus social node. All this has been achieved while increasing both access and use for the general campus body along with developing superior training and performance venues for student athletes.


A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Acoustical Consultant: Acoustics by Design

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