S U B M I T T E D B Y
Brinkley Sargent Architects in Dallas, Texas
Size: 84,963 square feet
Project Cost: $23 million
- Game room
- Group exercise
- 1/8-mile indoor walking track
- Indoor pool with three 25-yards lap lanes, spa, exercise vortex, kid play area, water slide and rock climbing wall with plunge pools
- Senior Component, including living room, arts and crafts area, fireplace, meeting room, outdoor garden and two game rooms
- Meeting/Banquet Component, including Main Ballroom, outdoor plaza and upstairs terrace
The new NRH Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas, markets itself to the community as "the Centre of your world," and it's not far from the truth. A project some 14 years in the making, its fulfillment is the realization of a remarkable commitment to providing quality of life projects for the citizens of this suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. The physical project is a creative response to a creative city philosophy in how to meet community needs.
The most significant example of this philosophy is the program itself. The Centre is not just a recreation center. Nor is it a venue for special events. It is not just a senior center. It is all of these things, under one roof. The innovative strategy of combining facilities that were either missing or scattered about town into one civic place combines the pragmatic benefits of providing economy of scale and operational expenses with the intangibles of building community.
The massive 85,000-square-foot building was broken down into forms and functions that invite through the intimacy of human scale, while also providing visual access and openness across spaces.
The Centre is innovative beyond this premise of consolidating programs. Some of its unique features include a rock climbing wall within the natatorium and the Terrace Bar that supports the Ballroom for special or VIP events. The design process also revealed an opportunity to create a civic space between the project and the existing library to the south. Minor reconfiguring of the library parking lot enabled a direct tree-lined connection between the facilities with a grand lawn for special events.
The project is in the process of LEED certification, achieved through myriad strategies, including site design, water conservation, energy efficiency, effective use of materials and resources, and attention to indoor air quality.
The project is also an example of leveraging Building Information Modeling throughout the design process. BIM was used from the earliest phases of the project to generate conceptual massing schemes and evaluate them on everything from program adherence to solar orientation. Functionally, the structure is a series of big boxes. BIM provided a testing ground to explore ways to provide the requisite volumes, only with favor for spaces that relate to human scale.
The project team used BIM to create accurate volumetric studies to inform traditional sketching, culminating into a design concept founded with sound underlying assumptions regarding proportions and the building's systems. Ultimately, the boxes were peels open with stepping transparent and curved forms. A key aspect of this building type is that building systems are often exposed to view, with the systems themselves becoming fundamental to aesthetic. Utilizing BIM, engineers were able to design systems with architectural input, allowing the team to achieve the desired architectural aesthetic.
The innovative building program and design solution has exceeded the already lofty expectations. Before NRH Centre, two traditional senior centers (now closed) averaged 80 daily visitors. NRH Centre's senior center averages 150. The previous recreation enter (also now closed) averaged 1,100 annual memberships. NRH Centre is currently well over 4,000. With a total city population of 60,000, that is a remarkable market penetration. The banquet hall, terrace bar, track and indoor pool are entirely new amenities for the city. The community has embraced the project, and positive economic development impact is already being seen as a result of the facility.
W H A T T H E J U D G E S S A I D
"Nice bold exterior is combined with rich materials and textures throughout the interior spaces. A very nice project that seems to benefit a wide-ranging demographic in the NRH region. Clearly a successful, community-based project."
"Comprehensive in its program of complex planning."
"The exterior design utilizes a limited palette of materials to create clean lines and high visibility. The building presents itself on different facades to reflect the different functions within."
"The integrated nature of the north side main public concourse space and the main entry sequence to the dynamic landscape is well done. Nice solution to a wide variety of program spaces in one facility."
A S S O C I A T E D F I R M S
Counsilman/Hunsaker & Associates
Kendall Landscape Architecture
Thos. S. Byrne