With its bold, contemporary design, the Recreation and Wellness Center brings welcome vitality and student life to the University of Houston-Clear Lake, reflecting its transformation to a four-year institution.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Clear Lake, Texas
Architecture, Athletics, Recreation, & Wellness, Higher Education, Interiors, MEP Engineering
The Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Awards, 2019
After successfully serving upper level and graduate courses for 45 years, the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) was undergoing a shift from a commuter campus for continuing education to a lively four-year home of resident students. Amidst the rapid growth in enrollment resulting from this transition, the idea of a new landmark Recreation & Wellness facility was born—providing not only an essential student life amenity, but also serving as a point-of-pride campus landmark and beacon of wellness to the University and surrounding community.
A key recruiting tool for the University, the center marries student life with wellness-focused academics as the new home to the University’s Exercise & Health Science Department. A large central pass-through lobby divides the recreation and academic wings, while still providing high transparency into all spaces to promote collaboration between the two pro-grams.
Recreational amenities include fitness/exercise spaces, an indoor track, and multi-use athletic courts for club sports, intramurals and personal training.
SmithGroup’s design includes three new exercise science focused labs served as the catalyst for the creation of the Exercise and Nutritional Health Institute, a community-based research institute with a mission to improve the health and functional performance of community individuals. Laboratory design supports advanced studies in motor control and biomechanics, with spaces suitable for analyzing sprinting and throwing motions.
With its broad glass curtain wall, bright interiors and natural lighting, the Recreation & Wellness Center emphasizes a new on-campus energy at UHCL, setting the tone for the campus’ continued transformation.