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A new addition centralizes all of the university’s recreation and wellness needs, creating a stronger sense of community

Central Connecticut State University C.J. Huang Recreation Center

Client
Central Connecticut State University
Location
New Britain, CT
Size
Addition 58,000 SF; Renovation 2,000 SF
Photographer
Trent Bell; Matthew Arielly
Services
Architecture
Additional Services
Landscape Architecture
Status
Completed January 2020
Awards
NIRSA Outstanding Facilities Awards, Recipient

Sasaki led the programming, planning, and design of a new 58,000-square-foot recreation center addition for Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) that consolidates student recreation and wellness in one centralized facility. Since its opening, the C.J. Huang Recreation Center has proven to provide a greater sense of community and access to wellness resources for the university’s 12,000 students and staff than previously available in several satellite fitness locations.

The program includes a three-court gym, elevated running track, weights and fitness space, group exercise rooms, recreation administration space, and a large VIP viewing room, which is used on game days, that connects back to a competition basketball arena.

Building Organization

The new addition connects to the university’s existing facility, Kaiser Hall. Even though the two buildings would physically touch, the access needs for each differed and required thoughtful consideration from the design team, particularly since Kaiser Hall needed to remain operational throughout construction. The solution was to only lightly touch the existing massing with a two-story glazed vestibule. The vestibule serves as the addition’s entrance, allows for free passage between the two buildings, and provides the ability to seamlessly control access between the recreation center and the rest of the complex.

For the recreation center addition, a key driver of the design was to differentiate it from the 1970s-era existing facility by immediately conveying that this building is dedicated to recreation and wellness. Users are able to quickly and intuitively get a sense of the spaces available to them directly upon entering the building. From the reception desk they are first greeted by the large, multi-court gym and have views to the elevated running track that circles the courts and the fitness neighborhoods that open onto it.

Materiality

For the building’s exterior, the design team used economical materials in a creative way to keep the project under budget. A red brick base anchors the building and relates the Huang Recreation Center back to Kaiser Hall and other campus buildings. Ribbon windows with metal panel infill, ribbed metal panels, and glass curtain wall complete the palette. Inside, strategic moments of color, brought in through flooring, wall coverings, paint, and graphics highlight architectural features within major program areas.

For more information contact Bill Massey.

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