Razorback Swimming + Diving Team Facility and UREC Expansion

university of arkansas | fayetteville

Two surgical addition/renovations to the HPER—a notorious behemoth that houses a majority of student athletic activities on the University of Arkansas campus--provide a precise and calculated approach to small transformations that operate at the level of the user.

Situated within the UA Athletic Valley, the HPER is the most prominent crossover building that merges collegiate athletes with intramural activities. These two projects provide a simple and subtle approach to remedying the human interface of the building while tackling two distinctively different public vs private programs.

The UREC expansion is a readily available amenity for all UA students. While the renovation began as the re-routing of utility pipes, the architecture quickly evolved into a reimagined space for interaction and functional storage as it is the primary point of entry for most students adjacent to the parking area. The new insulated, translucent glass enclosure obscures the interior and subtly reveals shadows of the tectonic guts and recreational equipment within. Daylight filters to the bicycle and equipment work areas creating a bright and uplifting atmosphere suited for the recreational program. Counter to the once darkened, artificially lit, basement feel, the large overhead coiling door and natural light facilitates the connection of UREC’s patrons with outdoor activities in the natural state.

The UA Swimming + Diving Facility Addition brings the previously hidden program to a prominent southeast corner exposure of the HPER. As a growing team, a more meaningful presence within the UA Athletic Valley is deserved. The previous facilities were afterthought and tucked away in the bowels of the HPER, but the new public face and expanded locker rooms have a distinct formal presence that emulates the surface of a narrow reflective swimming lane in a palette of translucent glass. The interiors are stark, clean and simple, streamlined for the purposeful instruction and mindset that is paramount to the sport.

The ‘front porch’ and the ‘front door’ are demonstrated with a keen hand and consistent architectural language to provide new faces and much-needed incremental improvements to an important community building on the University of Arkansas campus.

Typology Athletics + Education
location Fayetteville, Arkansas
completed 2015
photography Timothy Hursley