Whitney Recreation Center

Located in a low-income neighborhood, the Whitney Recreation and Senior Center is part of an existing community park that now houses a pool house and swimming, senior center and approximately 5 acres of park.  The existing recreation center was closed and razed due to a toxic mold infection.  The new center replaced the old structure and added new functions that were not part of the original.  The program called for a gymnasium, classrooms, multipurpose room, fitness room, administration space and a rock-climbing wall.

The location of existing facilities dictated the placement of the building within the existing park.  Water-consuming grass was removed and replaced with the new building.  The new building is linked to the existing senior center by a central courtyard.  Within the courtyard is a site-work designed by a regional artist with input from and construction by community members.  The client had one requirement; the building must be “simple”.  This was achieved by separating the building into four program areas: 1) classrooms, 2) fitness/computer rooms, 3) administration/multi-purpose area, and 4) gymnasium.  Each area evolved into its own architectural form with its own material.  The building became, in a sense, blocks of material collaged together and anchored by the climbing-wall tower at the main entrance.