Welcome to our Eighth Annual Innovative Architecture & Design Awards. In these pages, we take a look inside—and outside—some of the most impressive new and renovated recreation, sports and fitness facilities from across the continent.
Every year we aim to recognize outstanding facility design, and once again this year's contestants raised the bar another notch for future facilities. Our winners this year set an example for others to follow, and provide innovative and creative solutions to design problems.
All of the entries were carefully considered and ranked by our panel of judges, whose goal was to judge each facility on its own merit, and submit their scores, along with their thoughts on what made their top choices so outstanding.
While it's always a difficult task to narrow the list down to the top facilities, we have selected eight winners, as well as one facility deserving of our Editor's Choice award.
Here on these pages, you'll find photos and descriptions of these standout facilities, as well as highlighted facilities that didn't quite make the cut.
All of these recreation, sports and fitness facilities make for entertaining and informative reading, and we hope you'll take away some creative ideas to use at your own facility.
And if you're building new or renovating, we invite you to submit your facility for consideration next year, when we'll once again consider the latest innovations in design.
I N S I D E V I E W
To help our entrants provide a complete picture for our panel of judges, we asked them to contribute a narrative describing their innovative projects.
Here are the questions we asked to help guide their description as they illustrated the best features of their facilities:
WHAT IS THE FACILITY'S RECREATIONAL VALUE? How is this facility serving its intended patron's needs?
WHAT IS THE PROJECT VALUE? (value versus cost, in terms of "bang for the buck") Any creative financing or grants?
WHAT'S INNOVATIVE ABOUT THE PROJECT? In what ways is it unique and creative in its design?
HOW IS ITS AESTHETIC PRESENTATION? Does it create visual excitement and comfort, inside and out?
WHAT IS THE DESIGN CONCEPT FOR THIS PROJECT? How well does it meet functional and operational expectations?
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE JUDGES TO CONSIDER?
PROFILES COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY: DEBORAH L. VENCE AND EMILY TIPPING
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.
Frank Beans, AIA
Frank Beans has been a partner of The Collaborative Inc. for 19 years, bringing over 30 years of experience to the projects on which he works. He has extensive educational experience, having served as design architect on 55 major projects on 20 campuses. Many of these projects have been recreation- and student-oriented facilities. Frank has been a featured speaker at conferences such as NIRSA, focusing on recreation facility planning and design.
Dennis Berkshire is senior associate with Aquatic Design Group in Carlsbad, Calif. He has over 25 years of experience in the aquatics industry, with field experience in swimming pool design, construction and operation. He has a strong background in water chemistry and has been involved in the design of automated filtration chemical feed and water chemistry control equipment. As an expert on swimming pool operation, he has worked with several states on swimming pool environmental health codes.
Erik Kocher, AIA, LEED AP
Erik Kocher is design principal/sports & recreation specialist with Hastings & Chivetta Architects. He has vast experience on a variety of higher education facilities including student recreational centers and related student life buildings. As design principal, he oversees and guides the majority of the firm's projects. His design objectives are to plan and design buildings that enhance the quality of student life and contribute value to the contextual environment of the campus.
Dave Larson, AIA
Dave Larson has over 35 years of architectural design experience. As senior vice president with TMP Architecture Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., he leads the firm's efforts in the planning and design of recreation and sports projects. He is involved with numerous professional associations, including NIRSA and the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association, often as a presenter, juror and exhibitor.
G.W. Justin Platts, ASLA, LEED AP
Justin Platts is a partner, landscape architect and urban design focus market leader with RDG Planning & Design, a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary design firm. As an award-winning designer and project manager, Justin has led a variety of project types, ranging from his focus on urban design to medical, corporate and sports and recreation design. Justin is a LEED Accredited Professional and believes that sustainability is a systemic aspect of all good design.
Susan DiPierro Wallover
As president of Wallover Aquatics International LLC, an independent consulting and development firm, Susan Wallover provides operator and user-operated insight during facility planning and design phases, and provides consultation to assist owners in successfully managing their aquatic facility. She has over 20 years of consulting experience gained from directing Recreation Planning Associates, a division of Wallover Architects Inc. With her long history in the parks and recreation field, Susan has gained an excellent perspective on recreational and aquatic facilities, working with public and private operators.