Bowdoin College – Sargent Gym

Portland, Maine

Following the success at the Smith Union Campus Center, Barba + Wheelock was tapped to design the new Sidney J. Watson Fitness Center to serve the entire school population.  It would be located on either side of the main passageway through Sargent Gymnasium (c 1911-1913) to Smith Union, in spaces formerly occupied by outdated locker rooms.

The new fitness center offers free-style weights, rowing machines, stationary bikes and circuit equipment.  The weight room utilized rubber flooring for impact resistance.  Indirect lighting both illuminated the historic bead-boarded ceiling and provided glare-free light for workouts.

As the fitness center straddled a major public passage, the design challenge was to allow openness, light and connection from one side to the other, without sacrificing privacy important to some students, staff and faculty, who prefer more anonymity.  The decision also included a new women’s room and main passageway to better link it with Smith Union and provide a gallery to display team photographs spanning several decades.

Completion
: 1995

Special Features: 
One of only 37 projects recognized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts to promote accessibility.

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