Studio Saxe create Costa Rican fitness and rec centre in the trees

The Athletic Center creates a public space that integrates locals and visitors with similar interests of pursuing an active lifestyle and wellbeing.
– Benjamin G. Saxe

Studio Saxe have created a fitness centre in Costa Rica designed to be a "small village amongst the trees" that brings guests and locals together, as well as close to nature.

The Athletic Center was built as an extension of the Gilded Iguana hotel in the town of Nosara.

Rather than simply create a single large volume, the architects and the client wanted to work around the trees and the wildlife on the site, minimising any environmental impact and using the proximity to nature to contribute to the wellbeing of visitors.

Three smaller distributed volumes covering a total area of 615sq m (6,600sq ft) were created around the trees and interconnected with bridges and walkways.

This had the added benefit of creating an interesting and varied public realm with shaded interior public spaces where people could connect with each other and with nature.

The volumes were oriented with consideration of sunlight, wind patterns, noise, dust and, ultimately, energy consumption.

A light-weight steel structure was prefabricated off-site, minimising construction time and environmental impact, and the centre was finished with reforested teak wood and other durable materials.

Roof overhangs provide shade for its interiors and collect water to be reused in the mechanical systems and for landscaping irrigation.

One of the volumes houses the centre's gym, which features fitness equipment, training facilities and an ice tub for recovery, while the other two are used as studios for yoga, jujitsu, boxing and kickboxing classes. The centre also features a surf shop and bike shop.

Benjamin G. Saxe, founder and design director of Studio Saxe, said: "The Athletic Center was designed as a small village amongst the trees that creates a public space that integrates locals and visitors with similar interests of pursuing an active lifestyle and wellbeing."

Studio Saxe  fitness centre  gym  Costa Rica  nature 
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Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
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