Redesign Your School Athletic Pavilion | 2014 National High School Architecture Competition #140

What's the problem here? Getting started on your athletic pavilion design.

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Gerald Ratner Athletics Center at the University of Chicago

Design Challenge Background

The challenge is to redesign your high school’s athletic facilities into an athletic pavillion. With national organizations emphasizing the importance of regular phyical activity to combat obesity, these spaces are more important (and used!) than ever. They are becoming communty spaces and spaces for connecting, cheering, and improving lifestyles.

Design Challenge Brief

You may redesign the interior of the existing athletic facilities, expand on the existing spaces, or design a completely new addition on to your school building. Your design should contain all the spaces and functions required for typical school athletic facilities – locker rooms, athletic equipment storage rooms, concession stands, trophy cases, water fountains, offices for athletics staff, bathrooms, exercise and weight rooms, and, of course, gym spaces. The redesigned pavillion should include ideas for both old and new ideas for athletic facilities. You should also consider sustainability issues and the environmental impact of your design.

For your Overview, it is important to post a short, but clear, ‘success statement’ that communicates the goals you hope to solve and achieve through your design solutions. When you’re nearly finished with your design project, you can go back to this success statement to see if your design has met the criteria you first proposed.

Advanced Technologies was in 1994 with the exception of not having a gym which was built in 2000. During the new age of the 2000's the gym seemed to fit the current needs of the population that attended A-TECH. As of now that is certainly not the case! Now our gym seems to overcrowd and we often have the issue of finding space for all of our students. Instead of having one assembly for the student body, we have to have two separate ones just so we can get the message out to all of students, which becomes a hassle when it comes to scheduling and classes. In 2002 A-TECH sought out to create a bigger space for it students, they expanded the school, except for the gym. The school's population got so big and so dense that A-TECH had to use portables to fit the size requirements of the students taking gym classes.
The problem simple is, THERE IS NO ROOM. The locker rooms are extremely tiny and the students have to share lockers with more than a few people! It becomes a hassle when you often lose your things just because the rooms are so cramped up. Another issue we face is the fact that the school completely avoids the band rooom. The band room is located in a portable which is completely, "NO-BUENO." Our band deserves to have a room to itself that doesn't constantly have issues with air conditioning and heating. The arts should be funded back and what better way to do so then incorporate the band room into this design?
A-TECH'S gym is also costly due to the lighting and the sound system (which by the way does not work very well.) It's also extremely unappealing to the eyes due to the school district's inability to pick natural colors. These desert common colors are simply not doing the job anymore.
Our school deserves a new gym because we so mainly focus on the academic sides of our Blue Ribbon school. The only solution to this problem is to keep adding on. And included the issues that we want to address in our design. So this means a bigger gym, new rooms, bigger locker rooms, and all sorts of other problems that could possibly maker our gym a better gym. Now this is all fun and games so why not think outside the box and include a band room and other classrooms to the design? It seems to me, the more the merrier.

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In the Collect Info step of the design process, gather as much information as possible about your school's existing athletic facilities, both indoor and outdoor. You also want to learn as much as you can about the students and staff who will use it. You can't propose new solutions until you figure out and document what the existing problems are. 

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  • Take note of unsafe conditions or conditions that do not make sense (For example, not enough storage for soccer equipment; no place for fans to buy popcorn at events; no place for athletes to change clothes or store belongings).
  • Interview your school's athletic director, student athletes from various sports, and other staff and ask them what they like and dislike about the current facilities. What changes would they make to spaces if they had a choice?
  • Make a list of the features that you really like about how your athletic facilities look and function.
  • Make a separate list of all the ways your current athletic facilities are not so well designed.
  • Calculate the number of sports played at your school and the number of student athletes who play those sports. Consider how this information will affect your new athletic pavilion. How many teams will need to practice at the same time?
    • Do an analysis at different times of the day, week, or school year and create a chart or diagram with average usage and high / low points.
    • Do an analysis of the different types of equipment used by each sport. How much storage space is there currently? Is it enough? Too much?
  • Visit Flickr or another photo sharing site and search for other types of athletic facilities or gymnasioums to determine good and bad examples of how these can accommodate user’s needs.
  • Post images of buildings, colors, designs, textures, or other things that inspire you in this step. Make sure you give credit to your source!
  • Research other schools, universities, or public centers to determine good / bad examples of how athletic equipment and gear is stored and if anything is done to accommodate student athletes and the fans who use these outdoor facilities. What inspires you?

snailwhales's work for the Collect Information step:

The process of collected information first started out by taking a mini tour around our school.
The band room is located next to the gym and unfortunately takes the form of a portable. Being a...
Since our gym is used for school assemblies it should be important to have better lighting in the...
Here is the current floor plan of our school’s gym. As one could tell there is nothing about the...
Imagine you’re hitting up the courts and you’re super pumped to get your game on, only to be...
.The locker rooms at our school are very small and do not feed the needs of the physical education...
In these pictures it illustrates the field area that our school uses. The grass is actually not too...
This is the front exterior of our school gym, and as you can tell it's not exactly physically...

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Columbia University Campbell Sports Center © Iwan Baan

In the Brainstorm Ideas step of the design process, you start to be inspired by new places and you put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step. You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

The simple diagrams you make here will help you understand how the existing library location and design compare with your new ideas.

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  • Draw a floorplan of your existing facilities. How are all of the different athletic spaces connected? What are the different pathways you can take through all of these spaces? Map all of these rooms and spaces.
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of your school. Take measurements of the overall dimensions of your existing athletic facilities, both indoor and outdoor and use the aerial to map out the measurements.
  • Post this aerial map and sketch here so everyone can understand the relationship between your school building, the athletic fields, and the proposed site of your new pavilion. Describe the surrounding area and note existing structures such as the field, track, seating, storage, locker rooms, concession stands, and any fences. 
  • On a piece of tracing paper placed over the aerial photo of your school, sketch a diagram showing a large arc around the building to show the path of the sun throughout the day.  This drawing is called a site analysis diagram.  (Remember, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.)

Think About

  • Will your new athletic pavillion replace your school's existing athletic facilities or become an addition to a different part of the building? Will it be built in an empty lot or space?  Will it be underground or built on the roof?  You decide.
  • Spend some time looking at the aerial photo of your school.  What types of other buildings surround your school?  Homes, businesses, parks, parking lots, or an empty field?  How will these other buildings impact the design of your new athletic pavillion?
  • What types of streets surround your school? Are they busy or quiet?   
  • Based on the site analysis diagram you've sketched, where is the sun located throughout the school day?
  • How can the indoor and outdoor areas of your new athletic pavillion be positioned to take advantage of the sunlight for good lighting?

snailwhales's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

In order to brainstorm for ideas of what I really thought was necessary for the new design of the gym the first thing I did was research online.
Here is the Gold's Gym which inspired me to make my gym two stories. With two stories it...
One of the most interesting pieces of information I found while researching this topic was the...
While browsing the internet I came across this video on youtube. In the caption below the video it...
The internet provided with me with great examples of band rooms that actually seem functional! The...
Here is a quick drawing I created in my architecture class with prism colored markers, and sharpies...

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WMS Boat House at Clark Park © Steve Hall Hedrich Blessing

In the Develop Solutions step, your rough ideas come together with drawings and models that can show others your solutions for a new library.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and the mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

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  • Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.
  • Determine the best location for your new structure. Make side notes of where new elements may go or how you would change what is currently in place.
  • Make a list of all the unique spaces and features you plan to have in your athletic pavilion. 
  • Your athletic pavilion can include any types of spaces and features you feel are most important for your particular school, but here are a few suggestions:
    • Locker or changing rooms for home and visiting teams
    • Athletic equipment storage rooms
    • Concession stand
    • Trophy cases
    • Water fountains
    • Offices for athletic director or staff
    • Bathrooms for fans
    • Exercise or weight rooms
  • Use cardboard to create a 3D study model of early ideas. Or, create a rough digital study model of your ideas. These models don't need to show detail, just the overall size and massing for your athletic pavilion.
  • Show your ideas to your teacher and peers for some feedback. You can also review your progress with the test group you may have interviewed and test whether your design would meet their needs or address their concerns. Learn from the feedback you receive and incorporate into your final design solution.
  • Be sure to check out and make comments on other student design projects.
  • Do not leave work for the last minute! Going through a detailed design process requires time to gather information, develop ideas, and make improvements. This is difficult or impossible if you try to pull everything together a week before your project is due. Projects that are researched, developed, and well executed will always stand out!

snailwhales's work for the Develop Solutions step:

In this step you will find a my design process in trying to solve the issues with A-TECH'S gym.
This image provides the before and after gym underlays in AutoCAD 2012. There are slight changes in...
This here is the process of "3-Ding" the gym. Here you can fully see that the gym itself...
Here is the first draft of the first level of the new and improved A-TECH gym. This here includes...
Almost as identical to the first level 3-D image, here is the first and second level combined...
This is a snippet of what the indoor basketball courts are going to look like. Instead of having...

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Williams Natatorium at Cranbrook Academy © All rights reserved by Doctor Casino

The Final Design step of the design process is to create more finished drawings and models that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text, and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your school.

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  • Review your design and test it against your original sucess statement that you wrote for the Overview. Does it meet this criteria?
  • Does your final design meet the expectations of the student athletes and athletic director that you interviewed?  If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and revise your design.
  • For your final design, you will want to post a short but effective paragraph of your process and the unique solutions you found and developed. Tell us about your ideas and how they may or may not have changed over the course of the project.
  • You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.
  • But you aren't done yet! Be sure to comment on other projects in the competition to foster, encourage, and build an online design community of learners in DiscoverDesign.  CAF will also recognize students that provide both encouragement and constructive criticism on students' work throughout the run of the competition.

snailwhales's work for the Final Design step:

And now the conclusion!
The final 2-D representation of the North Exterior of the new-ish A-TECH gym. This is an elevation...
Here is the locker room that provides more lockers than ever before. There is a non-slip blue...
This is a shaded representation of what the bleachers in the gym look like. I made sure that there...
Once again another 3-D representation of the North exterior of the new gym. Here you can see the...
The finished modeling of the "new and improved" A-TECH gym. It provides a plethora of...
Here is a part of the band room. In the background you can see lockers that are extremely vital to...

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