Penn State Natatorium, State College

arch 331 individual studio project | 2018
Almudena Ribot, Visiting Professor

Penn State’s campus is composed of streets and ‘greenways’, which interconnect to form a gridded network. The greenways are linear parks with surrounding buildings—often including main entrances facing the greenway—as a street wall. The existing Penn State Natatorium sits adjacent to one of the most significant greenways, connecting the main Paterno Library with the Bryce Jordan Center stadium, and another smaller greenway connecting two housing areas. This new natatorium would embrace the greenways and improve their building edges.

The entrances to the competition and recreation pool areas would be on opposite sides of the smaller greenway. The other two corners of the greenway intersection would be occupied by buildings serving the outdoor pool and a future expanded tennis center. Trellises would create green walls along the edges of the large greenway and above the smaller greenway. These green walls would also allow sunlight in the building during the winter and protect the building from sunlight during the summer.

The bigger half of the natatorium would host the competition and diving pools, as well as locker rooms and guest amenities. The smaller half would include administration, classrooms, and four recreation pools, each with a specialty: a climbing pool, a sun pool, a cave pool, and a lap pool. The two halves would be connected via bridges above the greenway and a lower level underneath.

First floor plan, at the level of Curtin Rd

Models showing how the architecture would integrate into the larger urban context