Cañada College Kinesiology and Wellness Center

Project Description

This new, LEED Gold-certified center, cantilevered over its hilltop site and highly visible from Highway 280, unites once-dispersed kinesiology, athletics and dance facilities into a dynamic, holistic home for wellness. One of the first progressive design-build projects undertaken by a California Community College District, the gateway building supports the college’s renowned athletics training and movement studies, nurturing users’ physical and mental wellbeing, plus a public-membership fitness facility.

An iconic canopy, inspired by a mountainous ridgeline nearby, tops the building, which has an eye-catching design complementing the bucolic landscape. It replaces an outdated concrete gymnasium, from 1967, that lacked a pool (though one was initially planned), adequate HVAC, and sufficient windows. The building was dark, uninviting and uncomfortable, even amid its beautiful setting and breathtaking views.

Highly visible from the I-280 freeway, the new center represents a dynamic shift from its predecessor and serves as the flagship for the campus, and even the district. Its 115,000 sf of programming are spread across two stories and an activated 30,000 sf roof with running track and multi-use areas affording 360-degree views. A three-story lightbox, holding primary circulation, disperses daylight throughout the expansive interior core. Extensive exterior glazing opens the building to long, expansive views of the hills and the town of Woodside. Below the activated roof, an arena-style gymnasium holds retractable bleachers and hosts athletic events, with a long-span structural system that maximizes openness. Because the site occupies a Wildland-Urban Interface, designers employed subtle fire-safety measures.

This community college facility is a prominent resource/ tool for teaching students from underserved areas, helps prepare students for scholarships/ advancement to 4-year programs and NCAA competition, and can improve the health and even the careers of county residents. This project has received awards from AIA East Bay, Community College Facility Coalition, Design-Build Institute of America Western Pacific Region, Silicon Valley Business Journal, ENR National and ENR California.