Virginia Commonwealth University, Cary Street Gym

Richmond, Virginia

The existing Cary Street Gym, built in 1891 as an open-air market, is an architectural monument in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of Richmond. Over the years, the facility had been converted into an auditorium and, most recently, a fitness center and intramural gym. Preserving the historical character of the building and complementing the residential ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMMoseley Architects; Smith McClainCOST PER SQ FT$301.38CITATIONSports Stadiums/Athletic Facilities CitationFEATURED IN2010 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSports Stadiums/Athletic Facilities to the east and south were significant challenges. To determine facility needs and usage and garner neighborhood input, the architect conducted on-campus workshops and surveys with various key groups, including neighbors.

Designers determined that a renovation of the existing 32,600-square-foot gym and a three-story, 94,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art addition would enable the facility to serve as the sole venue for recreational sports on the Monroe Park campus. The existing exterior was restored, and the addition responds carefully to the historic building and other buildings on campus. The entire project was designed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

The east and south facades were scaled down to complement the two-story nearby residences. Also key to the project was the conversion of the existing interior into a two-story fitness center.

The interior of the facility is designed to provide visual connection to multiple recreation activities, promoting health and wellness to the campus community and neighborhood. Spaces for a wide range of social, recreational and fitness activities include weight and fitness rooms, a climbing wall, a four-court recreational gym with elevated track, spinning room, two racquetball courts, a multiuse athletic court, natatorium with lap pools and a leisure pool, locker facilities, offices and an outdoor activities area.

This project is LEED gold registered, expecting certification by the end of the year.

"An outstanding integration of historic and state-of-the-art to complement other exterior architecture on campus. Amazing views and great daylighting."--2010 jury