A holistic approach to a good education
The Wellness Center at the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York houses athletic, physical education and academic programs for the Department of Nursing. The College wanted the facility to express its holistic approach to human wellness- total body, mind and spirit. In response, landscape and building are merged into a spiritual and intellectual experience that is a metaphor for the Garden of Eden. One-third of the program is set below a garden built within the natural topography and reduces the overall mass of the building to be respectful of the residential neighborhood in which it is constructed.
The Wellness Center enhances the education process through its spiritual character and visible sustainable elements. Light, form and austere materials are composed to heighten awareness to the importance of the mind and spirit in satisfying total human wellness. Visible sustainable elements such as natural day lighting, recyclable glass in exposed concrete, thermally insulated space below a contemplation roof garden, preservation of site topography and trees remind one of the College's value based mission of service to others.
Sustainable design elements and architectural metaphor support one another. The natatorium is a grotto; the gymnasium is a rock outcropping and the lobby concourse is a stone crevasse. Vaulting concrete walls convey the imagery of a grotto and are made with recyclable fly ash and slag. Skylights above reduce artificial lighting and emit a heavenly illumination. A roof garden, over the natatorium, provides a green landscaped place for contemplation and reflection while reducing heat emission and ground water run off.