Health and Sport Center
This health and sport center in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, seeks to bring members of the community together between two important historical sites. Situated on Water Street between the Museum Ship Valley Camp and the historic Saint Mary Falls Hydropower Plant, the building’s steel envelope helps it fit into the surrounding structures, while allowing a curved roof that assists in water collection through the creation of an artificial river atop the building, viewable from the upper-story track. Meanwhile, the building’s interior structure is comprised of mass timber, a renewable resource that can be sourced locally, allowing for a strong structural lattice to support the water and snow loads of the curved and sloped roof above. Contained within this structure are two primary event spaces–a curling arena to provide a unique new experience to the city, and a natatorium, to help visitors feel at home next to the Saint Mary’s River visible from the site. The whole sports center is organized around a central courtyard, allowing quick access to nature even from the inside of the building.
Matthew Ruiter is a fourth-year architecture student at Lawrence Technological University. He has enjoyed learning a wide variety of software and incorporating these tools into architectural design. As he continues to the Master of Architecture program next year, he looks forward to continuing to explore new technologies and their uses in future architectural projects, both theoretical and practical, real-world designs.