11th Annual Innovative Architecture & Design Awards

Welcome, once again, to our Annual Innovative Architecture & Design Awards Competition. This month, we'll get up close and personal with some of the most outstanding new and renovated recreation, sports and fitness facilities recently constructed across the United States.

Every year, we see the competition grow a bit keener, and this year's contest saw a large number of facilities that are taking things to the next level of aesthetics, of service, of design excellence. Whether they're incorporating creative ways to save energy or elegant designs that break down extremely large spaces to a human scale, these facilities go above and beyond, ultimately providing their members and communities an outstanding place to play, compete, get fit and have fun.

From our winners through the special highlights, you'll find plenty of creative ideas on these pages—maybe even some you can make your own as you plan new facilities or renovations.

All of the entries were carefully considered by our panel of judges, with the goal of scoring each facility on its own merit. We also asked for their comments and critiques, as well as their thoughts on what made their top choices so remarkable.

From their top choices, we selected the eight highest-scoring projects as winners, as well as one facility that scored near the top for our Editor's Choice award. These winners are all featured in the pages that follow.

In addition, we also provide highlights of some of our other entries—facilities that missed out on the top scores, but are still worthy of showcasing.


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

Click on a facility for the whole story






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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.

Katie Barnes, AIA

Katie Barnes is a partner and the chief operating officer of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. As the daughter of an architect, Barnes came early to understanding what it takes to be a good one. Excellent design instincts, innovative management systems and gifted people skills are part of her DNA. She divides her time among marketing, project management and the development of project management systems. Barnes has played an integral role in the firm's library, civic and recreation practice. Whether it's running projects or running marathons, she is always at the top of her game.

Matthew Freeby, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

Matthew Freeby has served Water Technology Inc. as project leader since 1997 and has extensive experience in the design and construction of numerous building types, including municipal, institutional and commercial projects throughout the United States. He has been involved in more than 200 aquatic projects, ranging from $1 million to $100 million in aquatic budgets. His project experience ranges from conceptual planning to construction management. A registered architect in 22 states and a NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operator, Freeby is a LEED Accredited Professional with an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and sustainable aquatic design and operations.

Greg Houston

Greg Houston has been a principal at Marmon Mok Architecture in San Antonio, Texas, since 1994. His experience in recreation and sports architecture includes the design and planning of facilities ranging from major campus recreation projects to community sports venues. As a practicing architect, Greg has led the design team for major projects, including the nationally recognized Student Recreation Center and Natatorium at Texas A&M University in College Station. Greg is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA), and has been a repeated speaker at NIRSA conferences.

Bill Massey

Bill Massey is an architectural principal and leader in Sasaki's sports practices. He specializes in athletic and recreation planning and design projects with a particular focus on higher education. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the design and implementation of exceptional projects in the higher education sector. Massey has experience in the design of student recreation centers, intercollegiate athletic facilities, athletic fields, arenas, practice facilities, student centers, residential life facilities and community centers. His well-rounded experience and in-depth knowledge of the functional requirements and technical details associated with these facilities ensure the best results for casual participants and competitive athletes alike.

Tom Poulos, AIA

Tom Poulos is a principal and vice president at Williams Architect / Aquatics. Poulos is the studio director for the firm's sports, recreation and aquatic architecture sector and has managed complex projects from conceptual design through construction. His areas of expertise include architectural programming and space needs analysis, integrated design through public input, sustainable design, feasibility studies and master planning. Tom has also authored numerous articles for the sports, recreation and aquatic community.

Troy Sherrard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Troy Sherrard has more than 17 years of architectural design experience in recreational, health/wellness, community, athletic and student focused projects. He specializes in all aspects of the design to construction development process with a focus on sustainable design integration and team collaboration. Sherrard has served as lead designer/project design manager on numerous recreational, athletic and student-focused projects throughout his career, giving him an in-depth understanding of the specific design issues and solutions involved in creating state-of-the-art facilities. Sherrard is a partner with the nationally recognized firm of Moody-Nolan Inc.

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