Students at Drexel University have a hip new athletic center that is a bustling hub of physical fitness, sports and classes. New facilities were designed by Sasaki Associates to seamlessly integrate with the university's existing gymnasium. New rooms, a cafe and updated facilities are accented by a landscaping plan to create a strong presence on Market Street. Rainwater collection is combined with energy-efficient design and a high performance facade to make the Daskalakis Athletic Center an eco example for the rest of campus.
One of the main goals for Daskalakis Athletic Center (DAC) was to improve the visual presence of the building, and improve the interconnectivity of the athletic facilities and the rest of the school. The center is made up of a large multi-use gymnasium connected to a two story volume for fitness, weights and classes. Access from all sides through green spaces was a necessity as well as a visual connection from the inside and outside. An outdoor courtyard features a soft floor perfect for fitness classes, yoga, dance lessons and more.
Daylighting through fenestration on the facade and skylights was especially important to bridge the gap with the outdoors as well as to reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day. The facade is the result of extensive energy studies in order to maximize daylight without absorbing heat. In fact, the design was expected to reduce cooling loads by 50% on the south façade and 30% on the east. The plaza and the building both harvest rainwater which is used to reduce potable water for flushing of toilets. The project 85,900 sq ft project was completed in 2010 and has received a number of awards including the 2011 Outstanding Sports Facility Award from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.
Images ©Halkin Photography, Robert Benson