Feature Article - May 2007
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Fifth Annual Innovative Architecture & Design Awards

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond

elcome to our Fifth Annual Innovative Architecture & Design Awards—where we reward new and renovated facilities that raise the bar for recreation design across the country.

From aquatic centers that step away from the tried-and-true, to recreation centers big and small for college students and urban dwellers, to stadiums and parks that employ creative approaches to site and budget challenges, we've reviewed and analyzed the myriad entries into our annual design contest to select the most outstanding facilities—those that truly set an example for others and provide innovative and creative solutions to unique design problems.

Winners were carefully considered and ranked by our panel of judges with the hopes of highlighting the best and brightest. Out of more than 50 entries received this year, it was extremely difficult to narrow the choices down to a list of the top 10. Some facilities had outstanding missions, reaching out to underserved populations or attempting to improve wellness among campus communities. Others had impressive and complex programs, incorporating many different uses into extremely large structures.

That said, all of our winners stand out for one reason—innovation. In these top 10 projects, the owners, the designers and the construction teams collaborated to create recreation, sports and fitness facilities that are truly outstanding. We applaud their efforts and are delighted to showcase them here.

Our panel of judges considered many factors as they perused each entry in detail. Overall, each facility is judged on its own merits and scope. The judges do not look to award the prize to those who spend the most money, reach the most patrons or build the biggest and most complex buildings, though there are some massive—and expensive—facilities among our winners. Creative design ideas are the key to the winner's circle, and facilities that overcome unique challenges with beauty, style and functionality are rewarded accordingly.

Judges score each facility in seven different categories, as well as provide their thoughts and comments to further illustrate their overall impression of each entry.

The criteria scored by the judges include:

RECREATIONAL VALUE: Serving patrons' needs, impact on community, fulfilling project's goals

INDOOR APPEARANCE: Creating visual excitement and comfort, good use of textures and colors, interesting focal points and features

OUTDOOR APPEARANCE: Curb appeal, site improvements, "fit" into natural landscape

ORIGINALITY OF PLAN AND DESIGN: Proportion and scale, clever use of space, smart layout, interesting features

CRAFTSMANSHIP: Attention to detail, harmony of materials, quality of construction

FUNCTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL ELEMENTS: Good use of space, easy to manage and maintain, safe and efficient for staff and patrons, efficient uses of energy and natural resources

INNOVATIVE DESIGN: Overall impression of how the project fits the award, based on the facility's originality, creativity and uniqueness

New to the list of winners this year is our Editor's Choice Award. In this case, we chose to reward a facility that not only scored well with our judges, but also stood out from the pack for its unique mission. Turn to page 44 to read this inspiring story of a facility that reaches out to an underserved population, and also represents the only LEED-certified facility among our winners.

As always, we were delighted to read through every one of the entries we received. We are truly impressed with the innovation taking place in recreation, sports and fitness facilities, and cannot wait to learn what new challenges and solutions designers across the country come up with next year!

I L L U S T R A T I N G   I N N O V A T I O N

To provide a full picture for our panel of judges, entrants were asked
to contribute a narrative describing their innovative projects.

Here are the questions that helped guide their description to fully illustrate the facilities:

How is this facility serving its community's needs?

(value versus cost, in terms of "bang for the buck") Any creative financing or grants?

In what ways is it unique and creative in its design?

Does it create visual excitement and comfort, inside and out?

How well does it meet functional and operational expectations?


O U R   2 0 0 7   P A N E L   O F   J U D G E S

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our panel
of judges for sharing their time and expertise.
Their comments, insight and input are invaluable.

Daniel Atilano

Daniel Atilano, AIA, LEED AP, is the principal-in-charge and team leader of recreation projects at Burnidge Cassell Associates. He is a member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association, Friends of Illinois Parks and the National Recreation & Park Association. Daniel conducts original research surveys regarding trends affecting the parks and recreation field and has been a program presenter at IAPD/IPRA conferences and workshops and the NRPA Congress & Exposition. He is a recipient of several IPRA Outstanding Facility Awards. He is past president of the American Institute of Architects/Northeast Illinois Chapter and the first recipient of the chapter's Outstanding Young Architect in 1996. He also is a recipient of several AIA design awards.

Richard H. Fawell

With over 27 years of planning, architecture and design experience, Rick Fawell, AIA, NCARB is a principal at VOA Associates Inc. in Chicago. He has strong expertise in recreation center design and public assembly design. Currently, he is the principal in charge of the expansion and renovation of IMPE (Intramural Physical Education Building) at the University of Illinois at Champaign, where he also recently finished the expansion and renovation of CRCE (Campus Recreation Center East). CRCE was recently awarded the NIRSA 2006 Recreation Center of the Year. At Fairmont State University in Fairmont, W.V., Rick was the principal-in-charge of the student recreation center, which opened in 2005. He also is well known for leading the design of Navy Pier, which is now the number-one Midwest tourist attraction.

Hervey Lavoie

Hervey Lavoie is president of Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative (OLC) in Denver. With 32 years of design experience, he has successfully completed sports club design assignments in 42 states and six countries. He has written extensively on the subject of sports and fitness design. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Detroit, where he obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1971, and the University of Colorado, where he earned his master's in 1974. OLC completed their first club design project in 1982. The firm's current projects range in size and type from hospital-based wellness centers, athletic and fitness clubs, sports training facilities, university recreation centers, golf clubhouses and public recreation design to a broad range of aquatic projects.

Troy Sherrard

Troy Sherrard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is a senior associate with Moody-Nolan Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, and has over 12 years of architectural design experience in recreational, community and student-focused projects. He specializes in all aspects of the design to construction development process. Troy has served as lead designer and project manager on numerous recreational and student-focused projects throughout his career, giving him an in-depth understanding of the specific design issues and solutions involved with these types of facilities. Troy is currently serving as the project design manager on the Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center in Plano, Texas; the University of Illinois, Springfield Student Recreation Center; and the Ithaca College New Athletics and Events Center in Ithaca, N.Y.

Stephen Springs

Stephen Springs, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is a partner with Brinkley Sargent Architects of Dallas, specializing in public projects. He has a decade of experience in recreation and aquatic design, and leads Brinkley Sargent's sustainable design team. A LEED Accredited Professional and Certified Pool Operator, Stephen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, and currently serves as a Parks Commissioner in his hometown of Richardson, Texas.

William F. Yarger

Bill Yarger, MBA, AIA, is president and CEO of Yarger Design Group Inc. in Manchester, Mo. Under Bill's leadership, the firm has grown through its first 31 years, and today enjoys a reputation for high-quality projects for diverse clients in numerous states. He is recognized internationally as an expert in retail development, recreational facilities and theme park design. This work has provided him with deep experience with numerous civic municipalities as well as private developers. Bill serves as principal programmer, master planner and designer on many of Yarger's most challenging projects, as well as serving as principal-in-charge on projects requiring the advantage of his broad professional perspective and unique energy. He has won past awards for his design on the Orland Park Sportplex, in Orland Park, Ill.; The Pointe at Ballwin Commons, in Ballwin, Mo.; the Maryland Heights Aquaport in Maryland Heights, Mo.; and the Shawnee West Pool in Shawnee, Kan.


Congratulations to the
Following Winners

(appearing in no particular order):

Butler University Health & Recreation Complex

Garland Special Events Center

The Ohio State University Recreation & Physical Activity Center

Boll Family YMCA

Southern Methodist University Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports

MacBain Community Centre

University of Texas at Austin Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex

Widener University Wellness Center

Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center

University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center

E D I T O R ' S  C H O I C E

And to our Editor's
Choice Award-Winner

Springwood Youth Center


We also are delighted to showcase the following facilities that were submitted to us and sponsored by the firm that entered them:

Goodman Community Swimming Pool

Gold's Gym, Redmond

Fresno State University Student Recreation Center

Vaughan Athletic Center

Servus Place

Dilboy Stadium

The Pavilion at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Harrisonville Community Center

University of North Texas Athletic Training Center

Niles-Buchanan YMCA

University of Dayton RecPlex

Pollock Community Water Park

Walter Payton Recreation & Wellness Center, Jackson State University

Wellesley Community Centre

University of North Dakota Wellness Center

The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

Greeley Family FunPlex

Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort "Wild Waterdome"

Platte County Community Center South

Thomas College Harold Alfond Athletic Center

The Wave Aquatic & Fitness Center