McKie Recreation Center

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The consequence of this project is that it impacted an area way beyond its physical boundaries, breathing life in a mid-block backyard which for a while had been the setting for sketchy activities after sundown.

With programming that includes a variety of sports, fitness and wellness clubs, senior and youth art activities, and pre- and afterschool care the McKie is a true community hub.  The layout of the existing building was dated and inefficient, the result of several alterations over a 40 year period. Several areas were hard to access or monitor, converted to storage and instead of regular scheduling.  Built in the design register of the mid-20-th century, the building featured a low slung brick clad volume with few openings, allowing little natural light into a drab, low ceiling interior.

Our intervention reorganized the center through a few measured gestures.  We added an entrance to the south, and used a small, light filled atrium to link it to the existing building circulation.  The McKie, the adjacent Chase Elementary School and a remodeled pool facility to the south created a campus, conveniently clustering the school and the recreation facilities.

The atrium and a new streetside entrance are the only added spaces in what was otherwise an interior rehab project but they completely changed the physiognomy of the building.  Channel glass wraps the gentle atrium curve to the east and creates a few accents on the south elevation.   Its even translucency combines well with the existing brick and glass storefront.  Using simple design maneuvers we optimized the interior layout, managed the relationship between the different user groups and improved user flows during the different times of day.  To highlight its street presence, a portion of the upper story gym wall was removed and replaced with channel glass, bringing even northern light into the space.

This is one of the last projects I completed with DNK Architects.

Design Team (DNK Architects):
  • David Kirk, AIA – Principal in charge
  • Raffi Tomassian – Project Designer, Project Architect (Concept; SD, DD, CD)
  • Jerry Flynn, AIA – Project Architect (CD)
GOP Limited – Structural engineers
PEDCO – MEP engineers

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