Princeton, NJ. The Concrete Industry Board announced ikon.5 architects the winner of the 2009 Roger H. Barbetta Award of Merit with Special Recognition for its design of The Wellness Center at the College of New Rochelle. ikon.5 architects was recognized at the 48th Annual Awards Dinner on November 4th. The first new building to be constructed on the college's campus in more than 40 years, The Center for Wellness merges landscape and building to create a LEED certified facility that rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit.

The Center for Wellness, a 55,000 sf building integrates the College's nursing, physical education, health education and health services, and athletic programs to create educational programs for wellness. In addition to the fitness and weight rooms and competition-size swimming pool, there is a holistic meditation room and a contemplation garden. Joe Tattoni, the design principal said "The Wellness Center is a metaphor for a paradisiacal place of total wellness."

The Wellness Center used exposed cast-in-place concrete with a medium sandblasted finish. Concrete served as the optimal material for the 75-foot upturned beams that span the natatorium with the garden roof above, as well as throughout the entire building. It was chosen for its aesthetic appeal and for its superior fire resistance qualities.

The Center for Wellness

The Wellness Center is an example of how versatile cast-in-place concrete can be used in architecture expressing powerful forms while providing structural performance, intrinsic fire resistance, and maintenance-free surfaces that no other material offers.

The design was inspired by narrative and pictorial depictions of the Garden of Eden. The Center is a sheltered precinct removed from the urban distractions of metropolitan New York and offers opportunities for meditation and rejuvenation. Each part of the program represents a landform. The natatorium, or swimming pool, is the grotto; the gymnasium is a rock outcropping; and the multi-story lobby concourse is a stone crevasse cut deeply into the gently sloping site. A roof garden placed on top of the natatorium provides a peaceful place for contemplation and reflection.

When it is certified The Center for Wellness will be one of a very few academic buildings in Westchester County to qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Charles J. Maira, a principal of ikon.5 architects, placed one-third of the building's square footage below grade which insulates the natatorium and offers a landscaped green roof visible to the community. In addition to providing a contemplation garden, the roof reduces the amount of impervious water run-off. "The green features of this project were designed to reinforce the paradise design metaphor of the project while also meeting U.S. Green Building Council requirements."

Other green elements include harvesting daylight through the skylights above the natatorium and concourse, as well as the clerestory windows in the gymnasium that provide natural day lighting of the major programmatic spaces and assist in reducing artificial lighting during the daylight hours. The granite that faces the building is a locally harvested natural material. This reduces transportation expense and the use of fuel.

ikon.5 architects based in Princeton, NJ, is known for its award-winning designs for higher education, libraries, performing arts, museums, and corporate offices. Ikon. 5 also designed the renovation of the Gill Memorial Library, the College of New Rochelle, which opened in 2001.


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