Architects: Spillman Farmer Architects
Location: King’s College, 133 North River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, USA
Managing Principal: Daniel L. Harrigan
Design Principal: Joseph N. Biondo
Project Architect: Michael J. Metzger
Project Team: Salvatore B. Verrastro, AIA CCS CCCA FCSI; Wayne F. Stitt, AIA; Joseph Balsamo; Clint Newton, III; Patrick B. Ytsma, RA; Randy Galiotto, Jr.; Kirk Koehler; Mark Piell; Elliot Nolter; Deirdre Kwiatek, LEED AP; Henry DelVecchio, IIDA; Kate Carter
Area: 31800.0 sqm
Photographs: Paul Warchol
Structural Engineer: Barry Isett & Associates
Mechanical & Mechanical Engineer: Martin Rogers Associates
Civil Engineering: Derck & Edson
Construction Manager: Sordoni
Owner’s Representative: Radnor Property Group
From the architect. The new expansion to the King’s College Scandlon Gymnasium is constructed on a compact, sloping urban site in downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA. Program spaces, including athletics, student recreation, and health sciences, are economically stacked and strategically zoned to take advantage of the site’s natural topography and program requirements.
The new addition sets back from the existing building to create a soft, appropriately-scaled urban edge. A grassy forecourt bounded by a serpentine brick wall marks the entry sequence and addresses the human scale. An outdoor teaching environment acts as an extension of the program spaces within, and becomes a lively part of the entry procession. At the entry, visitors are presented with a glass lantern, which projects out from two flanking brick monoliths. This lantern creates shelter for pedestrians while capturing campus views from atop the interior’s grand central stair.
Inside, a low-lying glass volume acts as a modestly-scaled glass connector, delineating the larger volumes of the existing gym, and the new addition. This entry connector also acts as the control point for the building’s users. A grand central stair ascends from this area into the gymnasium level, where natural light filters through the open plan into the building’s recreation spaces. This indirect sunlight warms the unfinished concrete block walls and provides a luminous glow for the activities within. Wood storage components, articulated as furnishings, further soften and define the space.
The building’s exterior is carefully composed in a pattern of metal siding and masonry monoliths. Rippling across multiple scales, the metal siding’s pattern is legible both at distance and up close, addressing both the College’s campus and its immediate context. Throughout the building, the masonry joints are raked back to further address the human scale.
At every turn, the building’s materials and methods address its function as a space for recreation. Rather than gloss over the utilitarian nature of metal siding and masonry block, the project aims to imbue these simple materials with elegance of form and scale. These strategies work to transform a simple building addition into a tough, impactful presence on the King’s College campus.