The Sault Ste. Marie Health & Wellness Center
The Sault Ste. Marie Health & Wellness Center aims to create a space for visitors to exercise and enjoy the natural environment. It is defined by two main wings: the wet wing containing the natatorium, and the dry wing containing the gym. The natatorium is defined by a curved structure which connects with the floor, highlighting the glulam timber material. An elevated track surrounds the gym, with the northern section cantilevered over the site. This allows visitors on the site to experience the views of the Sault River. A kids zone and community center are available for visitors and their children to gather and learn, making this building more than just an exercise facility, but an integral place in the community. The design addresses several Living Building Challenge petals, making the space inclusive to any visitor. Main pathways run along each wing to aid visitors in way-finding. This is also achieved by high-contrast signage, curved corners, and ample daylighting. All spaces are built to be accessible, with 8’ wide hallways and individual bathrooms. A central ramp acts as the main access point between floors, allowing people with all types of abilities to take the same path. Visitors can exercise outside using the tennis courts and bocce ball court, or by walking or running on the elevated boardwalk through the woods. The Sault Ste. Marie Health & Wellness Center gives visitors a space to exercise and experience nature, all while allowing them to gather and connect as a community.
Michelle is a graduating architecture student at LTU and plans to attend Virginia Tech to earn her Master’s of Architecture. She has spent the last year researching Health & Wellness, incorporating each universal design technique into her recent projects, and plans to continue this after she graduates. She will be working as an Intern at Progressive AE again this summer in Grand Rapids, as they are the only firm in Michigan which specializes in Universal Design.