Editor's Desk - May 2014
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The Spice of Life

If variety is the spice of life, then boy do we have a spicy issue for you this month! This year, we decided to forgo the awards entries, and instead invited design teams from across the country to submit what they believe was their most innovative work in the field of recreation, sports and fitness facility design. Our hope was that this approach would allow us to present you with a wider variety of projects--expanding the coverage of innovations in facility design beyond the mostly college and community recreation centers featured here in the past to a more diverse lineup of creatively designed recreation, sports and fitness facilities, from parks and playgrounds to sports fields, natatoriums and more.

The response to our call for submittals was delightfully overwhelming, and we've rounded up some of the best and brightest to showcase for you here.

You'll still find many of the innovative facilities we've showcased in the past, including college recreation facilities and more. And you'll still see familiar names of architects and landscape architects who lead the field. But that's just the tip of a very large iceberg. We also feature community centers and ice rinks, playgrounds and natatoriums.

All of the projects included in our pages this month represent some of the most innovative ideas in facility design—everything from greener designs that reduce energy usage and boost operational efficiencies to clever playgrounds that get kids away from the screen and out into the world.

The fun begins here, where we offer an overview of multipurpose facilities—those recreation centers, community centers, YMCAs and more that provide myriad programming opportunities for a very diverse audience. From there, we move on to sports facilities, with a look at some creative ideas, from a university ice rink that captures and re-uses energy used at the rink to heat the facility's swimming pool, to special stadium seating cleverly located atop an adjacent dormitory. Then, we turn to aquatic design, and feature both indoor and outdoor pools and waterparks at their best. Creative playground designs come into play here, with natural play once again taking center stage, but not stealing the limelight from other new and emerging ideas in play design. We wrap up with fitness centers.

All told, these stories offer a peek inside the near future of recreation design, with a wide variety of facilities to meet a wide variety of needs. But there are some overarching trends that continue to make their impact on the field. Environmentally-friendly design, once considered the height of innovation, has almost become a norm among these top-tier facilities. And facilities that can meet the multigenerational needs of a very diverse community—from children to teens to their parents and their actively aging parents.

We hope you'll find some ideas here that you can apply to your own facility. And if you think you can beat what you find on these pages in the creativity and innovations to be found at your own facility, let us know! We'd love to tell the world about your successes, too.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management