Foster and Family Recreation Center

Uniting a campus with a new path for collegiate recreation

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Client
Missouri State University
Location
Springfield, Missouri, United States
Size
98,500 square feet
Status
Completed 2012

Facing increased student demand for recreational programming and space, Missouri State University (MSU) created the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center—a place where the entire campus community can exercise, play, compete and learn about health and wellness. The facility is equipped with basketball courts, a multiuse activity court, fitness center, natatorium with fitness lap lanes and leisure pool, multipurpose group exercise rooms, a jogging track, climbing/bouldering wall, offices and other amenities to empower staff and students.

The center is conceived as a crystalline, geologic form in the campus landscape. The chiseled stone mass is fractured by a new pedestrian campus passage that brings students to the entrance and center of the building, and on to other campus destinations beyond. The stone shell—referencing the historic stone buildings that define the MSU campus—is cut away to reveal a cool metal and glass interior, exposing the activities of recreation. 

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The building’s exterior is comprised of custom-cast stone panels, scaled to a monumental size appropriate to the building’s size and colored to accompany the campus limestone architecture. In-grade linear LED lights line the pedestrian path that cuts through the building.
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The building’s exterior is comprised of custom-cast stone panels, scaled to a monumental size appropriate to the building’s size and colored to accompany the campus limestone architecture. In-grade linear LED lights line the pedestrian path that cuts through the building.
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The building’s exterior is comprised of custom-cast stone panels, scaled to a monumental size appropriate to the building’s size and colored to accompany the campus limestone architecture. In-grade linear LED lights line the pedestrian path that cuts through the building.
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Dynamic, light-filled and unique, the building's center-cut passageway has become iconic on campus. Missouri State has students proceed down it during commencement ceremonies each year.
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Dynamic, light-filled and unique, the building's center-cut passageway has become iconic on campus. Missouri State has students proceed down it during commencement ceremonies each year.
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Dynamic, light-filled and unique, the building's center-cut passageway has become iconic on campus. Missouri State has students proceed down it during commencement ceremonies each year.
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Carefully measured cuts and apertures in the pathway create a degree of transparency not readily apparent in the building’s exterior.

A unifying force

Bringing together previously scattered recreational offerings to create a centralized and cohesive recreation program, the MSU center is located on a pivotal campus site between student life functions, the academic core, and other sports and recreation venues. The center’s defining feature—the column-free passageway connecting two campus precincts—creates a unique spatial experience that helped solve both planning and phasing challenges. Its spatial qualities contribute to the fluid experience of passing through the building.

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The building’s interior is defined by a dynamic palette that complements the university’s colors, with coordinating accents applied in glazing, flooring and other materials.
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Dynamic student resources fill the building including pools, courts and impromptu spaces for student socialization.
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Dynamic student resources fill the building including pools, courts and impromptu spaces for student socialization.
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Testimonials

  • The Foster and Family Recreation Center at Missouri State is the #1 "must see" university building in Missouri.

    USA Today

Fueled by students

Students gathered more than 1,000 signatures in two days to support a feasibility study for the new recreation center. The design process was calibrated to keep students deeply engaged. All were active participants in the design team selection process, in interactive work sessions, and during every planning and design meeting. Numerous open forums were also held with the campus community to keep students informed of key design decisions and to gain broader student input and review. The recreation center’s dynamic, site-specific form and its programmatic components were guided by this continual feedback.

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The path’s subtle rise and fall allows pool and locker functions to slip below the walk on the lower level.
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Design elements imbue the energy and activity that fills the building each day.
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Design elements imbue the energy and activity that fills the building each day.
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Design elements imbue the energy and activity that fills the building each day.

Testimonials

  • It takes a great client to create great architecture. This building is a testament to that reality. We were able to create all these different scenarios to accommodate phasing for the building that led us to create its iconic passageway. It's a wonderfully sculpted building envisioned as a fractured geode, revealing a sparkling gem of interior spaces.

    Dpolzin
    David Polzin Executive Director of Design, CannonDesign
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