Spagnolo Gisness & Associates’ Schacht Center for Health and Wellness is a LEED Silver building at Smith College inspired by holistic health and wellness. The complex is capped with a double-height glass atrium, which draws in lots of sunlight while creating an open atmosphere. Housing counseling rooms, outpatient services and education programs, the center was designed to be welcoming and social.
For the Schacht Center, the architects wanted to shatter norms associated with mental health facilities, instead creating a place where all could feel welcome regardless of their issues. Positioned on a campus piazza, the center faces other scholastic buildings, a performance art center, and a gym. The nearby gym is thought of as an extension of the Schacht Center, tying in improved mental health with physical fitness.
The building’s glass façade gives visitors pristine views of the hills and river that surround the Smith College campus, as well as a visual connection to the gym. The glass also acts as a literal connection between students and the facility, creating a transparency that invites the student body to drop by without judgment. The students input and opinions were greatly considered during the design process in order to create this atmosphere.
The resulting health and wellness center is accessible and centrally located between campus and its residential neighborhood, encouraging students to seek help when needed.