Wellbeing: the new frontier of fitness
Max Kun Zhang | IRIS22 Productions
RDG Planning & Design
Wake Forest University is a prestigious private US university located in North Carolina. Founded in 1834, the university was named after its original location in Wake Forest before it moved to the current site in Winston-Salem in 1956. Like many American universities, it has a large sports centre, the Reynolds Gymnasium, which is home to the highly successful Wake Forest female volleyball team.
The gymnasium is the centrepiece of a decade-long campus renovation project that has involved a total investment $625 million. When completed in 2021, it will establish Wake Forest as one of the top American universities with the specific aim of becoming a major driver of the local economy.
The recently-opened new sports centre was designed by US firm RDG Planning & Design, whose large team of engineers, architects and designers is strongly committed to environmental sustainability, as demonstrated by the fact that the Reynolds Gymnasium has LEED Gold certification. Rather than simply renovating the existing facilities, the project aimed to create a contemporary health and wellness centre. « The new wellbeing centre is much more than a gym. The project reflects Wake Forest’s leadership amongst universities focused on enhancing all aspects of personal wellbeing, » commented Jack D. Patton, project leader at RDG. « The 17,000 square-metre wellbeing hub triples the amount of fitness space available on campus and features a new lounge space ideal for conversation, relaxation or studying. Reynolds Gym now boasts wide open spaces and abundant natural light, a welcome change from the original 1950s design. »
This sentiment was echoed by Wake Forest President: « We seek to educate the whole person at Wake Forest, and this new facility encourages and provides many opportunities to pursue holistic wellbeing. This is why we are naming this the Wake Forest Wellbeing Center. »
The renovation project has won two prestigious recognitions: a special mention in the Tile Competition 2019 and the NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facility Award 2019.
The work was carried out in three phases. Phase I involved construction of the Sutton Center, a new two-storey addition to the gym devoted to fitness programming and campus activities which is connected to the main building by a floor-to-ceiling atrium. Phase II focused on construction of an open living room, a bouldering and climbing wall and fitness space for weight training and other activities complete with new state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The third and final phase was devoted to the centrepiece of the entire complex, the large swimming pool surrounded by glass walls and three-storey arched windows, along with group fitness studios for students, faculty and staff, multipurpose rooms for intramural and club sports and a volleyball court. Sustainability was a major goal throughout the Wellbeing Center project and was reflected in the choice of materials aimed at guaranteeing high aesthetic and functional performance. Verse collection porcelain tiles from Caesar in the colours Volcano, Chestnut and Volcano Stave were chosen for their beauty and durability, and proved the ideal choice for the corridors, the large living room area, the Student Health Center and the bathrooms. Tiles were used in various combinations of sizes and colours to create a sense of surprise and discontinuity in the large spaces, further enhanced by creative tile laying in a W-shaped motif based on the traditional herringbone pattern.
The warmth and natural appeal of tile also fitted in perfectly with the historic aspects of the building.
20x120, 30x120 cm
Volcano, Chestnut, Volcano Stave
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 145 mm³
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant