Wellness Center

By staff March 17, 2014

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Wellness Center, Sarasota, FL

Carlson Studio Architecture


The LEED gold-certified 18,000 square-foot wellness center was designed for a resort. Looking to attract the Baby Boomer generation, the resort sought to provide a higher class of services. The building is comprised of a therapy spa, an indoor 25-meter lap and therapy pool, second-floor exercise rooms that overlook the pool, and an aerobics studio, steam and IR sauna rooms, dressing/locker facilities and access to adjacent existing exterior pools.

The building was designed to bring a mature contemporary aesthetic to the aging campus, while maintaining the tropical feel of the resort. A well-known local post-war modern movement helped provide a vocabulary framework for materials and structure. The resulting design creates a flow of space and form between the program elements, and the hard, clean lines of the masonry walls intersect with the curved wood beams and glass facade. Meanwhile, steel columns lift the structure and unite the exterior spaces and guide occupants along a predefined path.

One the project’s main goals was to connect to the existing exterior pool deck and create an “open” feeling, which was achieved with a span reducing V-shaped column supporting the roof structure and large glue-laminated beams. Taking advantage of views to the east, a full glazed facade offers views to the existing exterior pool, while glazing on the north side provides copious amounts of natural light. In order to provide a physical connection to the exterior, three 20-foot sections of the eastern facade accordion open allowing the indoor and outdoor pool decks to be combined on pleasant days and for events.

The sustainably minded client required the pool building to be both healthy and energy efficient. To this end, the building utilizes passive architectural features to lower energy demand, such as large overhangs on the south side to shade the against the harsh Florida sun. While the north face maximizes glazing for additional day lighting without added heat gain. Additionally, “active” systems include two 5,000-gallon cisterns to collect rain water and HVAC condensate, a state of the art cooling/dehumidification systems and lighting controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors provide the right amount of light when needed.

The project also utilizes an insulated concrete form (ICF) wall system and impact/insulated rated windows, providing a highly insulated envelope. Low- and no-VOC finishes were used throughout as well as materials containing high quantities of recycled content.

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