The Center for Wellness at The College of New Rochelle
The College of New Rochelle
New Rochelle, N.Y.
ikon.5 architects/Galina Design Group
When the leaders of New York's College of New Rochelle asked Joseph Tattoni to design a wellness center that would fit in with the surrounding landscape, they probably did not expect that he would literally build it into the landscape. Tattoni, the principal of Princeton, N.J.-based ikon.5 architects, worked with the College of New Rochelle on a sustainable design that eventually built a third of the building—including a pool and locker area—below grade. The plan called for a design that would be distinctly modern while at the same time complementing the 19th-century residences of the local neighborhood, as well as the gothic design of the wider campus.
"The college wanted the building to look more innovative than it looked old, but they did want it to have a connection back to the 100-year development of the campus," says Tattoni. In building the project, Tattoni and his team used the same Westchester granite that proliferates throughout the campus buildings. During the building process, they were able to preserve 87 maple and oak trees, as well as historic specimen trees such as a sycamore at the entry of the building.
The building houses a 1,500-seat gymnasium and fitness and aerobic center, as well as the natatorium, several education rooms, a meditation room, and an outside contemplation chapel garden on the rooftop. "It was about approaching it the same way they teach education at the college: that is, total human wellness, which includes not only the body but also the mind and spirit," says Tattoni.
The designer connected this variety of elements and design goals to an overarching theme of "The Garden of Eden"—a paradise of total health with a sustainable design that evokes the wider health of the planet as a whole. (The facility was designed to achieve a LEED silver rating.)
"It was very important for us to make that statement. This is a wellness center, and integrating that concept holistically is part of our goal," says Judith Huntington, vice president for financial affairs at The College of New Rochelle, who was heavily involved in the planning of the building. As Huntington and her team worked through the final details of the wellness center, ikon.5 provided them with images and popular portrayals of the Garden of Eden going back hundreds of years to help paint a picture of how this facility could capture this idea.
Each main component of the Wellness Center has a parallel in the natural world. The walls of rough-hewn granite in the lobby concourse create a striking crevasse, the sunlit pool surrounded by sandblasted concrete serves as a grotto, while the gymnasium embodies a rock outcropping. The grand skylight above the swimming pool allows for the area to be lighted partially with natural sunlight, saving on energy costs. There is a heat recovery system in the pool to capture hot air off the warm pool water and use that to supplement the heating throughout the rest of the facility.
Other elements have been incorporated to strengthen its sustainable design, such as recycled glass chips in the ground concrete flooring of the lobby and cork and rubber athletic flooring in the fitness center. Yet, like so many elements of the College of New Rochelle's Wellness Center, sustainable components, like the blue and green colored glass in the auditorium that cut back on the use of energy, also elevate the interior to create a more spiritual effect, according to Tattoni.
"The whole interior use of natural daylighting and materials were selected on the basis of reminding one that this is a place of spirituality," Tattoni says, "even if they're going there just to play basketball or to swim a few laps."
“This project is a great study of solid and void (transparency) using materiality. The seamless blending of architecture and interiors conveys an athletic facility emerging from the ground plane, complete with natural materials that move between interior and exterior. Skylights, clerestory, and extensive use of framed views create a great vessel to capture the light.”
Project: The Center of Wellness at The College of New Rochelle. Client: The College of New Rochelle. Architect: ikon.5 architects
. Interior designer: ikon.5 architects/ Galina Design Group
. Structural engineer: Robert Silman Associates. Mechanical/electrical engineer: Cosentini. General contractor: Andron Construction. Construction manager: Appleby Construction. Lighting designer: Hillman DiBernardo. Acoustician: Creative Acoustics. Furniture dealer: Feigus Office Furniture. Photographer: Peter Mauss/ESTO.
Wallcoverings: Wolf-Gordon. Paint: Benjamin Moore, Scuffmaster. Laminate: Nevamar. Dry wall: USG. Masonry: Trenwyth Industries Polished CMU. Flooring: Papenpour Athletic Flooring. Carpet/carpet tile: Mohawk. Carpet fiber: Dupont Antron Nylon. Carpet backing: Rubber. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Elliptipar, Kirlin. Doors: VT Industries. Door hardware: Von Duprin, Monarch. Glass: PPG/ Berkowitz. Window frames: Vista Wall. Window treatments: MechoShade. Railings: Custom glass and steel, maple handrails. Lounge seating: OFS, Brayton. Cafeteria, dining, seating: Paoli. Other seating: Knoll, Versteel. Upholstery: Carnegie. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Knoll, Versteel. Architectural woodworking, cabinetmaking: Iaccorino Woodworking. Signage: Agnew signs. Elevators: Thyson Krupp. HVAC: Trane. Plumbing fixtures: American Standard.
Location: New Rochelle, NY. Total floor area: 55,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 3. Average floor size: 18,000 sq. ft. Total staff size: 5. Cost/sq. ft.: $450/sq. ft.