Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center and Athletic Complex
The University’s historic Cope and Stewardson Field House has been transformed into a 21st century fitness, athletic and recreation center. Completed in 1902, it is a registered historic landmark and was the site of the 1904 Olympics, the first Olympic games held outside of Europe. The new Recreation Center, created through the addition and renovation of the Field House, is an innovative, modern facility that honors its legacy.
A 1980s addition on the north side of the Field House created a visual distraction from its character. Designers wrapped the northern addition and the new southern addition in a glass-enclosed colonnade featuring masonry piers capped with restored Indiana limestone. This approach respects the architectural integrity of the original structure with an interpretive design that honors its historic context.
The original entry was restored as the main access point to revitalize the arrival experience. Existing half-level floor plates were removed to create a multi-story space through which a bridge, surfaced with hardwood salvaged from the original gymnasium floor, connects old and new and serves as the primary access point for every-day use. The entrance leads to the open, three-story fitness center and is flanked by multipurpose fitness spaces, a spinning studio and a nearby recreation gym. The elegant, soaring structural elements in the fitness space are paired with articulated wood paneling and glass clerestories and skylights. The result is a modern, open dynamic space that promotes health and fitness and encourages connections to the history of the institution.