Category: Municipal
Location: Dallas, TX
Size: 4480 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: Face Brick Blend Rockefeller Plaza-8600 Split-faced-1600,Light weight/Burnished CMU-2740
Submitted by: DSGN Associates

Project Description

The Churchill Recreation Center is a well-used recreation center located in north Dallas on a wooded, sloping site adjacent to a park. This 5,700 square foot expansion contains a state-of-the-art fitness center, locker and shower rooms, multi-purpose rooms for exercise, classes and meetings, and an exterior courtyard for other events.

The available site area for the expansion was constrained by a number of factors, including existing parking lots, trees, exterior views from the existing building and underground utilities. The architects' solution to this challenge was to create a simple rectangle containing the new functions, accented by a curved CMU wall to focus views away from a parking lot and towards a wooded area. A landscaped courtyard was created between the new and the old, landscaped along its perimeter and sheltered from harsh western sun by an overhead trellis.

The exterior finishes for the existing recreation center were primarily face brick, CMU and cast stone. The architects elected to continue this palette, using the same materials in the expansion, although interpreted and assembled differently. A matching brick - ACME Rockefeller Plaza - was selected as the primary color along with a combination of white split and smooth-face CMU, accented by a buff-colored cast stone coping and string course.

This particular masonry palette was selected by the architects for several reasons:
Compatibility with existing building.
Appearance of civic stability.
Honesty of expression in materials.
Ready availability within the north Texas region.
Cost-effectiveness and responsiveness to modest construction budget.
Durability and ease of maintenance within limited municipal operations funding.
Elegant appearance within park-like setting.
Contribution to an effective, high-performance building envelope.

In addition to using masonry as an exterior finish, the architects also utilized it as a featured material for the interior of the expansion. First, the architects chose to leave the exterior wall of the existing building exposed in the primary corridor of the expansion, achieving at no cost a handsome, durable appearance in a high-traffic area.

Additionally, the architects opted to use white, smooth-finish CMU as the primary finish on both the exterior and interior of the curved feature wall that encloses the fitness room. The construction of this wall was demanding, as it was raked by daylight from both ends, incorporated a precision-built steel sunscreen, and had to intersect carefully with the exposed structure and an adjacent, 18-foot high glass and aluminum curtain wall. The horizontal sweep of this wall is emphasized by square-raked bed joints at every third course.

This crisp CMU wall extends beyond the fitness room into the courtyard, where it supports an airy shade trellis and frames a view into the wooded site. This new feature wall extends almost - but not quite - to the existing building, allowing the new and old to co-exist in quiet compatibility.

Project Participants

Architect / Designer's Name: Robert Meckfessel, FAIA LEED AP BD+C
Company: DSGN Associates
Phone: (214) 746-2706

Structural Engineer' s Name: Thomas L. Scott
Company: Jaster Quintanilla
Phone: (214) 752-9098

General Contractor's Name: Garry Walker
Company: Speed Fab-Crete
Phone: (817) 478-1137

Masonry Contractor's Name: Shawn Hutson
Company: SS Masonry
Phone: (817) 917-5014

Masonry Supplier's Name: Mike Atwood
Company: Acme Brick Company
Phone: (817) 685-9641

Masonry Supplier's Name: Bruce Fowler
Company: Building Equipment Supply (stone coping)
Phone: (817) 332-2373

Landscape Architect's Name: Stan Cowan
Company: Mesa Design Group
Phone: (214) 871-0568