Conceived as a transparent connector, the new fitness center spans between two existing athletic buildings. Its open, flowing workout space is encased by steel framed glass curtain walls and opens to two levels below.
As the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, Smith College has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to both the intellectual and physical development of its students. To underscore this priority, the College wished to build a highly visible and inviting fitness center for the use of the entire college community. The site available was in the vicinity of the Scott Gymnasium built in 1920 and the Ainsworth Gymnasium built in 1970, on steeply sloping land at the edge of the campus. The college hoped to accomplish several goals with the fitness center: create a campus showcase, improve confusing circulation between the existing gymnasia, and provide accessibility to the entire athletic complex.
The main fitness level is at the main campus entry elevation connecting the first floor of Scott Gymnasium and the third floor of Ainsworth Gymnasium. The level below is a mezzanine for student lounge, and spectator access to the Ainsworth swimming pool. The lowest level contains a lower campus entry, offices, and additional multi-use spaces in the former Scott pool structure. A continuous skylight above the main workout floor floods the three-levels with light, unifying them and providing orientation and focus for the complex space. Within the new structure a combination of stair, ramp, and bridge linking to the existing elevator make the entire complex easily accessible.