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Sense of Place

Sense of Place

Haverford College (Pa.) Gardner Integrated Athletic Center
University Business, Jun 2006

FUNCTION: Sports and rec center featuring interactive art exhibits and displays of athletics history at Haverford College, a 1,140-student school.

CHALLENGES: Efforts to integrate curriculum areas at Haverford began with three academic centers. When an athletic building project arose, President Thomas Tritton envisioned integrating athletics with the arts, explains Greg Kannerstein, the athletic director and an associate dean (who becomes dean in July). The planning team sought an environmentally friendly design, which would require cost-containment efforts, while breaking new ground as one of the first athletic buildings to meet the US Green Building Council's LEED standards. Coincidentally, an early meeting was held on September 11, 2001, the day Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick lost his colleague, best friend, and Haverford classmate Douglas Gardner, who played basketball. Turning out a great building took on new importance, Kannerstein says. Three of the four alumni victims were athletes.

SOLUTIONS: Officials mulled over 14 different sites before selecting a spot near the campus center, which "had been a little isolated at the south end of campus," Kannerstein says. With a connecting patio, the new 100,000-square-foot facility helps encourage workout neighbors to continue conversations outside or in the campus center's snack bar.

The athletic center's lobby was designed for maximum visibility of all happenings. "You can walk through the building and see squash, basketball, martial arts, dancing. People see others doing it and say, 'That looks like fun,' " he notes. On display are athletically related paintings by art students, as well as remembrances of the 9/11 victims; thanks to Lutnick's lead project donation, Kannerstein says the team "didn't have to make hard trade-offs" on building features. Having a lot of windows takes advantage of natural lighting and heating for reduced energy use. "This really is a building about health. It's not only about winning games. We don't reserve the center only for teams. We're trying to do something for the entire college community. ... That fits with integrated learning and being a [green] building."

PROJECT COST: Nearly $30 million

TIMELINE: Opened in October 2005, dedicated in April 2006

ARCHITECT: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (Pa.) -Melissa Ezarik