Chapman University - Erin J. Lastinger Athletics Complex
hen building a collegiate athletic complex, there's no shortage of stakeholders to worry about. Chapman University recognized this challenge early and determined to meet it.
Designers faced the arduous task of designing a complex that met the varied demands of student-athletes, fans, recruits and donors in customizing an athletics program where football serves as the centerpiece of a diverse array of campus events. Their solution was the innovative Erin J. Lastinger Athletics Complex, a dynamic hybrid structure that combines both a football stadium and an aquatics center into one facility.
"The challenge really was the very restrictive site," said principal architect David Body of Cannon Design. "We needed to make a few bold moves to succeed. It could be a model for others in a landlocked situation."
The efficient, dual-purpose facility maximizes square footage on a limited site, achieves economic savings and beautifully anchors the university's athletic, recreation and outdoor programs.
In Chapman Stadium, 2,000 seats overlook a new synthetic-turf football and soccer field, a space that also provides programming for recreational and intramural activity on campus. The fieldhouse includes a press box, reception room, team lockers, training room, coaches' offices and team meeting rooms, while an underground parking structure accommodates 900 cars. The adjacent Lastinger building contains classrooms and intercollegiate administration offices.
With space at a premium, the architects had to meet the university's mandate to give spectators not just a unique view—but the best view. The solution involved a careful balance between several variables to ensure that sight lines were perfect.
A new aquatics center features an Olympic-size pool with bulkhead, as well as two 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards. A spectator area comfortably fits 600 people, while other dedicated space includes team lockers, showers, storage, administration and meet management. The facility, which is designed to operate independently of the adjacent fieldhouse, also boasts an alumni deck that overlooks the facility and includes a press box and special seating, allowing spectators to simultaneously view action at both venues.
Cannon Design made an impressive effort to provide programming, master planning and design services for the university's entire athletic precinct. In addition to the new stadium and spectator facilities, the master-plan components also include an extended tennis complex and a new recreation facility.
Additionally, the design achieves an optimal mix of energy strategies, including building orientation and landscaping, exterior materials and fenestration, including natural light, insulation, economy cycles for mechanical equipment and computer monitoring devices.
The major challenge, however, was to address the extremely limited east-west dimension of the site and turn it into an opportunity. Designers considered the dimensional imperatives of soccer and aquatics and used them to determine the building's footprint. The innovative overlapping of two seating banks in the north-south circulation met the needs of both the stadium and natatorium.