University of Notre Dame, Rolfs Sports Recreation Center

Notre Dame, Indiana

Ninety percent of the students at the University of Notre Dame participate in non-varsity or intramural activities, compared to an average of 50 percent nationwide. Notre Dame sought to construct a new facility to serve the recreational needs of the students, as well as the university’s faculty and staff. The Rolfs Sports Recreation Center is the new home for activities ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMTLF; Biagi, Chance, Cummins, London, TitzerCITATIONSpecialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio1998 Educational InteriorsSUB CATEGORYSpecialized include intramural programs, club sports and other recreational services.

The new facility contains three wood floor courts suitable for basket ball, volleyball or badminton; a multi-sport court, enclosed with dasher boards for indoor soccer, field hockey, etc.; a 5,000-square-foot fitness room with aerobic machines, strength machines and free weights. It also features two 2,000-square-foot activity rooms for aerobics, dance, martial arts, etc.; a three-lane, 1/8-mile suspended running track with views into the courts and to the outdoors; men’s, women’s, and family locker rooms; classrooms and offices for the staff; and a wellness center.

The architect located spaces and activities in the building so they connect visually through balconies, exterior and interior windows, and a three-story atrium. This level of openness puts the recreational activity on display both inside and outside the building, and encourages participation. The openness also allows a small number of staff members to supervise a variety of activities from a single vantagepoint.

The architect employed a variety of building materials, including ground-faced and split-faced concrete block, ceramic tile, open steel pipe railings and high-impact gypsum board, for both aesthetic appearance and durability. Color is used to enliven and unify the interior spaces. Windows, glass block walls and a skylit atrium admit abundant natural light to many of the interior spaces.

Photographer: ©Mike Chesnut and ©Salvatore Lovinello

"Reflects use, but blends with campus; good use of natural light."—1998 jury