Recreation brings individuals together and builds communities around common interests. Rarely is that more evident among chosen Facilities of Merit® than it is with the 2018 class of 10 winning projects — which includes campus and community recreation centers, an aquatics center, a sports complex, an intramural building and two YMCAs. Even facilities housing intercollegiate athletics also make ample room for wellness enthusiasts.

Facilities of Merit winners were selected in July by a panel of seven architects at the conclusion of two days of deliberations at AB Media headquarters in Madison, Wis. Next month, the architects, consultants and facility owners behind each winning project will be honored at a reception at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Thanks to all 62 entrants for helping ensure the program’s high level of competition, and congratulations to the 2018 Facilities of Merit. — The Editors

Delbrook Community Recreation Center


“The skillful use of a sloping site and presentation of natural features, combined with a lively exterior design, and well-organized functions, make this a great project.” — Don Jones

Situated on a site that drops four stories from northeast to southwest, and bound by a street, streams, a forest and playing fields, topographical conditions influenced the multilevel plan of the Delbrook Community Recreation Centre.

“This project maximizes the potential of the steeply sloped site and in doing so produces exciting spaces and views.” — Anita Moran

Program spaces within the building are grouped by categories. Spaces are organized as arts and administration, public activity, access-controlled activity, and below-grade parking. The building is organized by small-scale spaces to the north and large-scale spaces to the south. An interconnected circulation spine bisects the building and is the primary organizing element.

Primary spaces include a natatorium, a fitness center and a gymnasium. Other spaces include racquet courts, an art studio, a pottery studio and meeting rooms, as well as child, youth and senior centers.

Inspiring the design is the objective of animating and integrating the facility into its surroundings. Horizontal geometry on the north elevation emphasizes site grades. The southern elevation is organized similarly but at a larger scale, taking advantage of natural light that adds vibrancy to program spaces. The forest-facing elevation to the east is understated, with a large glazed surface at the corner providing a visual connection to activities from the street. The west provides an inviting entry and public plaza that steps down the site with mountain and forest backdrops.

An elemental material palette applies architectural concrete, curtainwall and metal panels. Wood is used throughout the interior spaces and, in combination with the glazing and clerestory, facilitates a play of light that is ever-changing throughout the day, mimicking the dance of sunlight among the trees on a forest walk.

“The Delbrook Community Recreation Center is thoughtfully designed with particular sensitivity to community and site through the integration of public art and the well-executed approach to stormwater management. MEP and lighting systems are carefully coordinated and integrated in a very successful way.” — Emily Parris

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