Wellness Center as Garden of Eden

Ikon.5 architects complete wellness center at New York college

by Sharon McHugh 12 October 2008
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    Wellness centers are cropping up on college campuses everywhere. For its new center, the College of New Rochelle asked Princeton architect Ikon.5 to give them a facility that spoke to wellness as a holistic experience of the human body, mind and spirit. In designing the new center, Design Partner Joseph Tattoni looked to the metaphor of a paradisiacal garden for inspiration in creating this award winning, Silver LEED certified building that merges building and landscape into a singular statement that speaks to wellness through its siting, program and materials.

    The 55,000 sq ft building houses spaces for physical education, sport competition and contemplation including a 2000-seat gymnasium and convocation center; a competition level natatorium; a fitness/aerobics center; a holistic mediation room, classrooms; and an outdoor contemplation garden and chapel. Metaphoriaclly, each program element represents a landform: the natatorium, with its vaulted sandblasted concrete ceilings and wall, is the grotto; the gymnasium, with its exterior granite walls, is a rock outcropping and the lobby concourse is a stone crevasse deeply cut into the gently sloping site.

    In deference to the scale of the existing campus and neighboring residences, Tattoni suppressed 40% of the building's program below grade and used the space above to locate a contemplation garden and skylights to bring natural light into the building below.

    The building, which opened in May 2008, is constructed of locally quarried granite, glass and concrete.

    Sharon McHugh
    US Correspondent

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