The understated presence of the Sommer Center is in keeping with the humble tradition of Bluffton University, a Mennonite institution in Ohio. On a tight site and sloping site, the building accommodates a varied and dense space program ranging from a performance court for basketball to a sports medicine suite to a strength and fitness facility to athletic department offices. The design takes advantage of the sloping site to reduce the perceived sense of scale and camouflaging the large box of the arena from campus vantages. Efficiency of use was a critical driver of decisions such that when the arena is not in use for practice or games, it can be used as a recreational gym and includes a small running track for indoor use on inclement days. Similarly, the dance studio can be used for spin or aerobics and, because it is directly connected to the concession area, readily convert to a VIP room on game day.
Project credit: Sasaki (J. Moses, project designer)
Image credit: Scott Pease Photography
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