Award Winner - July/August 2003
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Devotion to Motion

Motion Fitness and Racquet Club
New Berlin, Wis.

The original notion for the Motion Fitness and Racquet Club was simple.

"The three main owners had a vision," says General Manager Mike Kuglitsch, referring to Dan Eckerman, Joe Dunne and Roger Dibble, whom he calls the Three Wise Men. "They had a vision to make not only the biggest but the best health club in the state. And they've done it."


Built for both serious athletes and families, with an emphasis on children's programming, Motion probably is the biggest health club in American's Dairyland.

"But it's not just a big box—it's a large, open, contemporary design," Kuglitsch says. "There's something for everybody."

The glass walls clearly allow a peak at the activities inside, adding to the building's inviting nature.

"That's one of the reasons we're at 5,000 members so quickly: the appealing design," Kuglitsch says. "But what's keeping them is the customer service."

He likes to use the term the "Three Cs:" consistency, customer service and cleanliness.

"Those are the things we're hitting home," Kuglitsch says. "When you put a great design with state-of-the-art equipment and programming, then the Three Cs, it's a formula for success."

There's no disputing, though, that the interesting architecture pulls people in.

"The club sells itself," Kuglitsch says. "The design gets them in the door. Then it's the job of everyone in this facility to keep customers happy."

The central hub of the facility is the reception desk and open stairway that direct users throughout the airy facility.

"It's not only beautiful, it's very efficient from a membership viewpoint," Kuglitsch says, noting the building's wide entryways, wide stairways and clear views into other spaces. Patrons can see almost all of the facility wherever they stand. "It's not like a mouse going through a maze looking for cheese," he says. There are no small rooms or long, narrow hallways.

The architect's goal was to simply create a warm, energetic and open environment. The design team accomplished this by exposing the interior to large amounts of natural light, using furnishings with warm tones, and choosing finishes with stimulating patterns and vibrant colors. The exterior consists of precast and architectural metal panels with a two-story glass curtain wall allowing the sun to be the primary light source for the facility.

High-quality materials like a specialty running track and aerobics wood flooring were specifically used to prevent athletic injuries, while providing the owner with value in the long run. Likewise, durable carpet, easy-maintenance wall coverings and moisture-resistant fabrics use color and patterns to disguise wear as well as fit into the high-energy theme of the building.

"You get awed by the design, but you stay for the atmosphere and ambience and the camaraderie between the staff and members," Kuglitsch says.

The design is a piece of the whole Motion experience.

"We're the biggest, but that's not our priority; we want to be the best," he says. "But being both is pretty nice."

"Great vistas throughout. Great energy. The architecture celebrates fitness and makes the experience transparent."

—Michael Bourque

Submitted by: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc. in Milwaukee

Size: 146,000 square feet

Project cost: $10 million

Quick tour:

  • 50,000-square-foot fitness area including cardio theatre with multiple types of equipment, free-weight area and four activity studios
  • Four full-size basketball courts
  • Three-lane, indoor running track
  • Six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts
  • Three racquetball courts
  • Aquatics center including zero-depth pool with kid's play area and water slide, current pool, four-lane lap pool, and whirlpool
  • Kids' gym with full basketball court and floor hockey space
  • Childcare center, computer room and activity areas for kids
  • Indoor golf center equipped with three hitting nets, putting green and golf simulator
  • Pro-shop
  • Both a deli and a sports bar
  • Adult locker rooms with steam rooms and saunas as well as a family locker room
  • Three tanning rooms and two massage rooms
  • Outdoor sand volleyball court and large sun deck/patio with beverage service

Associated Firms

Contractor and owner: Venture Development

Engineer: Pierce Engineers

Pool consultant: Ramaker Associates

Flooring: Connor Sports Flooring Corp., Magnum Fitness Systems, Prostar Installation

Lighting: Visa

Locker rooms: Avonite (countertops), Dal Tile (floor tile), American Olean (floor tile), Interstyle (glass mosaic), Hollman Inc. (lockers)

Fitness equipment: Magnum Fitness Systems, Free Motion Fitness Corporation, Paramount Fitness

Aquatic components: Badger Aquatic

Splash play area: Protech International

Signs: Gruenke Co.

Sports equipment: Porter Athletic Equipment Co., Frank Armstrong Enterprises

Safety equipment: Porter Athletic Equipment Co.

Food service: Subway

Baby changing tables: Koala Corporation

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