The 21,400-square-foot (1,988-square-metres) Lone Tree Wellness Center was created for the community of approximately 1,400 people, located halfway between the state’s capital Des Moines and Chicago, Illinois.
The project was the result of a collaboration between the school district and the municipality itself: neither could individually afford new facilities, so they teamed up to cover the building costs.
“As a valuable community resource, the building deepens residents’ roots and encourages the town’s growth,” said Iowa-based Neumann Monson Architects in a project description.
The school district was eager to provide spaces for its basketball and wrestling teams, and these two sports are the main focus of the new facility.
Because the basketball court requires more height, it is located in a double-height space towards the back of the building. The remainder of the ground floor is single-height, and is used for auxiliary programs such as locker rooms, a reception desk, and informal lounge spaces.
The rooms for wrestling are located on the partial second floor, and are accessible by two symmetrical staircases along the southern edge of the basketball court.
A bright yellow running track is also available on this level. It wraps around the entire building perimeter, and is elevated to avoid disturbing the ground-floor programme.
“In the new building, a raised indoor track orbits the wrestling/exercise room’s perch overlooking the basketball court,” said Neumann Monson.
More yellow accent walls are visible throughout the rest of the building, providing contrast to the palette of concrete, black-painted steel, and polycarbonate panels – all chosen to be “minimal and durable”.
The use of transparent and translucent materials on the facade is intended to draw interest from the street front.
The architects designed the main elevation to showcase basketball games to passersby through a glass wall. Pedestrians can also catch glimpses of runners on the track above, through a row of polycarbonate panels.
Also designed with the intention to bring together communities, leisure facilities elsewhere in North America include a covered basketball court in the Mexican port of Veracruz, and the underside of a Toronto highway that hosts a public skating rink in winter.
Photography is by Cameron Campbell.