'An icon for the city': CannonDesign craft Maryland Heights sports and wellness centre

Through the shaping and siting of the building, we were able to create an ‘acoustic shadow’ disrupting the propagation of sound waves from the highway and cutting decibel levels nearly in half
– David Polzin, CannonDesign executive director

A hub for recreational sports, wellness and civic engagement has opened in St Louis, Missouri, using a design that shelters it from an interstate highway.

Architecture and engineering firm CannonDesign were tasked with creating the new home for the Maryland Heights Community Center to replace a facility no longer fit-for-purpose.

The brief called for a destination centre for the community of Maryland Heights, offering a variety of uses and preserving the site’s usable green spaces while mediating the harsh environment of the highway.

To achieve this, the ground plane was lifted and the building was nestled into the raised landscape, offering shelter while maintaining the stretch of land connecting the site towards a neighbouring water park to the north.

“The project’s greatest challenge was also its greatest opportunity,” CannonDesign executive director David Polzin told CLADglobal. “The building’s proximity to the adjacent highway presented an enormously harsh acoustical environment with noise levels upwards of 90 db, nearly equivalent to the noise of a jet engine.

“Through the shaping and siting of the building, we were able to create an ‘acoustic shadow’ disrupting the propagation of sound waves from the highway and cutting decibel levels nearly in half. This strategy opened up the possibility for a very expressive architecture.”

The inflexion of the architectural plan created a sheltered entry plaza to the main building, forming an outdoor space for community events such as craft fairs and farmers markets.

The building features a transparent façade that reveals the public life of the community engaged in its activities of wellness and recreation.

A gym occupies the tallest interior volume, its eastern façade clad in a translucent triple-walled polycarbonate façade to control noise and glare, while also providing natural light by day and the qualities of a glowing lantern at night.

An indoor pool is prominently on display in the bulbous south end of the centre, while meeting rooms and a preschool are nestled in the lowest portion of the form and have a private courtyard carved in the rising ground plane.

“We worked very closely with the city council in developing the design, and they believed in the power of this building to be an icon for the community and one that would speak to the future of the city,” said Polzin. “Lesser foresight from a different group would have yielded a far less innovative solution.”

CannonDesign have completed a number of North American sports facilities, including the recently-opened Place Bell ice hockey arena in the city of Laval, Quebec.

Last November, the practice were awarded an IOC/IAKS Silver Award for their work on the TD Place outdoor stadium at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa.

The accolade – presented by the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities – celebrates exemplary buildings and complexes that integrate sensible sustainability and legacy considerations, strong functional planning and exceptional architectural design.

CannonDesign  St Louis  Maryland Heights  Maryland Heights Community Center  architecture  sports design  David Polzin 
Related stories

Sports and leisure industry celebrates winning architects at IAKS Congress awards night

Quebec ice hockey and entertainment arena to deliver 'unrivalled spectator experience'

More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6094     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6094     
company profile
Company profile: GSM Project
Founded in 1958, GSM Project is a multidisciplinary design and production firm specializing in museum exhibitions, observation decks, and other visitor experiences. With over 1000 projects worldwide, we are a turnkey supplier with over 60 years of experience.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Passengers could travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes
Jakob Lange
"I was screaming out loud – it was impossible to hold back. This was something that had never been done before."

Head of BIG Ideas shares the latest on Virgin Hyperloop One

The Modern Art Center
Daniel Libeskind has designed a number of public spaces that deal with difficult or painful historical events
"Architecture can only thrive in a democratic environment"

The Polish-American architect on how his buildings explore memory and identity

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Thomas Christoffersen: From BIG intern to BIG partner - Thomas Christoffersen's journey
Thomas Christoffersen
"We were rooted in the traditions of Danish design, but inspired by what was happening elsewhere."

On the journey from being Bjarke Ingels' first intern to BIG partner

Extra curricular activities are an important part of BIG’s culture, says Bjarke Ingels
“If BIG had been founded for one project, it would have been Lego House,” says Ingels
"We want to take responsibility and initiative in giving form to our future"

The BIG founder talks about Lego House Mars Science City and the role of his team in BIG’s success

Finn Norkjaer
"The Tirpitz Museum is very special. We have created a very clean and simple building, and we’ve been very honest with the materials."

On the Tirpitz Museum and his love of music

The city will feature a huge range of cultural, sporting, retail and leisure facilities
Andreas Klok Pedersen
"I say no more than yes. You need both sides – people presenting ideas and people not afraid to say if the idea isn’t good."

Discovering new talent and saying no

The three cultural organisations are set around a flexible public space
Jakob Sand
"Maybe a project ends up looking like a BIG building, but there’s no blueprint. If you have a good idea, we will look at it, whether you’re an intern or a partner."

On BIG's French adventure

cladkit product news
Brdr. Krüger to exhibit at IMM Cologne
The Theodor chair was named after studio co-founder Theodor Krüger
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish furniture company Brdr. Krüger will showcase a range of new and existing pieces at international interiors show, IMM Cologne. ...
Matteo Thun Atelier create hospitality collection inspired by Mediterranean atmosphere
The collection is designed to integrate with numerous architecture and interior projects across the hospitality sector
Kim Megson
The studio of Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun have produced a new range of wooden furniture designed for everything ...
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
cladkit product news
HawkinsBrown complete timber pool facility for 'swimming among the trees'
The space has been designed as 'a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes'
Kim Megson
Architects HawkinsBrown have completed an elegant timber pool hidden among the trees for a school in the English county of ...
Richard and Ana Meier collaborate on lights inspired by geometry and past buildings
Lauren Heath-Jones
The designer Ana Meier has joined forces with her father, Pritzker-winning architect Richard Meier, and lighting specialist Hervé Descottes to ...
RIBA North announces winter lineup
RIBA North opens its new season with the Cerámica exhibition
Lauren Heath-Jones
The RIBA North architectural centre in Liverpool, UK, has announced its lineup of events and exhibitions for the winter season. ...
cladkit product news
Ma Yansong debuts out of this world furniture collection
Ma Yansong was inspired by science fiction and the possibility of life on Mars
Lauren Heath-Jones
Curation-led design gallery Gallery ALL debuted the MAD Martian Collection at Design Miami. Designed by Ma Yansong, founder and principal ...
Rockin' around the Christmas tree: Lasvit partners with the Upper House hotel and Yabu Pushelberg for bespoke Christmas project
The tree is designed to greet guests with a design and light experience as they enter the hotel
Lauren Heath-Jones
Lasvit has partnered with design firm Yabu Pushelberg to create a bespoke Christmas tree for The Upper House, a boutique ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates