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The institution’s first ever student recreation and wellness center brings the master plan vision to life by becoming the new crossroads on campus

Universidad de Lima Recreation, Wellness, and Student Life Center

Universidad de Lima
Lima, Peru
180,000 SF
Tracking LEED Gold Certification
Eleazar Cuadros; Renzo Rebagliati; Kevin Fu
Additional Services
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Completed 2022
Athletic Business Magazine, Facility of Merit
Society for College and University Planning/American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education (SCUP/AIA-CAE), Merit Award in Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

The first project implemented from Sasaki’s master plan for the campus, the wellness center at the Universidad of Lima is a new hub for social life, recreation and student programming on campus.

Dedicated program spaces are balanced with flexible areas to create a welcoming and engaging student life facility. The center includes nutrition, counseling, physical therapy and weight training for athletes, as well as informal recreation space within the multi-purpose gym, which doubles as an event space for up to 600 people. The entire building is meant to be multipurpose; as a major engine of activity on campus, it is a place where students and faculty can gather throughout the day and socialize, study, and recharge. Designed for users to intuitively discover places of preference, its visitors drift through its spaces participating in different scales of community activities along the way. Across its central atrium, the building stairs and bridges connect uses and levels promoting wayfinding through alternative circulation routes, where the transparency of the spaces allow users to anticipate the many destinations that the complex offers. The building’s sustainability is palpable through the use of materials, natural ventilation, daylighting, and vegetation throughout, making it the highest efficiency building structure on campus. Combining passive and active conditioning measures and renewable energy generation the project achieves both carbon footprint optimization and targets EUI 30% below benchmark, and tracks LEED Gold certification.

“The Wellness Center has been an instant success for the campus. Students spend time in the building at all hours of the day, making it the ideal meeting point to gather and participate in all sorts of activities before, in-between and after classes. You can see entire processions of students making their way to it across campus in ways we never saw before, the building has become their place.”

Oscar Quezada Macchiavello, University Rector

Building Organization

The building wraps around the covered plaza space as a Möbius strip connecting different wellbeing oriented programs. The outdoor plaza and the building’s ground floor level provide space for dining and informal gatherings. The covered plaza also provides access to the campus forum, a large assembly space below the plaza surface. The center’s student health services are located at a more discreet area to the north of the dining and retail venues. The mezzanine overlooks both plaza and auditorium space at the building’s atrium and provides additional meeting and dining space, together with access to the student affairs offices and the entrance to the recreation programs. The next two levels are dedicated to recreation spaces like lockers, fitness, weights, circuit training, and group exercise spaces and a connection to the renovated building wing next door with its dining area, lounges, and student flex theater spaces. The building top is characterized by its multipurpose gymnasium and group exercise suites, which are connected by an indoor and outdoor jogging track that weaves through various building terraces.

Building Structure and Envelope Concepts

In order to amplify the campus open space and to funnel the public realm deeper into the building across multiple levels, the building hovers over a major plaza that links three different quads of the campus. The building’s core elements act as towers at each end of the plaza with bands of active programs hanging around it from suspended bridges, minimizing the disruption of the continuous ground floor plane. A series of belt trusses support the different program floor trays defining the space with a naturally lit and ventilated atrium at the center. The stacked truss system allows for the development of 20-meter-wide, column-free spaces in the form of lofts that can be reprogrammed frequently, supporting multiple space configurations and equipment layouts. The larger programs (group exercise rooms, flex theater, and multipurpose gym) are propped over the floor trays as translucent boxes clad in cast glass defining the building’s skyline.

Suspended from the perimeter trusses, an aluminum brise soleil screen helps shade the different façade orientations, rotating according to the sun angle, and sheltering both glazed and open air spaces behind it. The more solid elements of the building, associated with the core, are clad in a fiber cement panel rainscreen.

Building Resilience Strategies

Water scarcity represents the country’s biggest environmental challenge and is projected to worsen in years to come (both campus and city are in a desert/arid ecoregion). To address this, the design of the building and the landscape combine strategies for water conservation and reuse that include: low flow/conserving water fixtures, greywater reuse for irrigation purposes, stormwater detention and reuse as part of the installation of vegetated roofs, and large scale planters at the terrace and plaza spaces. The planting palette also contributes to optimizing water consumption through the use of low irrigation vernacular species. As part of other resiliency strategies, the building’s solar rooftop PV installation is part of a campus-wide strategy for on-site energy generation that helps make the campus less reliant on grid-provided electricity. Regarding earthquake risk mitigation, the building structure features seismic isolators to help withstand extreme seismic events.

For more information contact Pablo Savid-Buteler.

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