The Athletics Center is rooted in Colby’s guiding ethos and values, supporting individual and collective growth through physical and mental health, and encouraging teamwork and community through sport and competition.
The 350,000-square-foot building has become the largest athletics facility in the Northeastern US, comprising a field house, ice arena, Olympic-sized pool, a competition gymnasium, squash courts, a strength and fitness center, and multi-purpose studios, with locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and offices.
Fitness and wellbeing are prioritised in a project that makes maximum use of natural daylight and connections to the landscape. Our ambition was to create a set of connected spaces that promoted holistic use, social interaction, where students would want to hang out, study, compete and train.
The project gave us the opportunity to plan five large venues together. To minimise their collective scale, we explored spatial and programmatic efficiencies to create a compact, coherent, and efficient building. The overall mass is broken down to a series of forms which relate to the scale of the rest of the campus.
A hierarchy of materials is used to articulate the building’s organisation and to convey a sense of human-scale despite its size. Buildings facing the campus feature glass and a distinctive grey brick which complement metallic finishes elsewhere. Materials progress through a translucent polycarbonate structure to the larger scale and industrial aesthetic of the metal panels facing the Interstate.
Venues are arranged around an external courtyard to create strong visual connections between levels. They prioritise the performative nature of sport, creating an intense spectator experience with dramatic sightlines and seating close to the action.
The building has become emblematic of the College’s offer, growing, and signalling its culture and ambition to prospective students and staff, and acting as a flagship for its aspirational development and recruitment.