Drexel University - Student Recreation Center


The site for the new recreation center at Drexel University occupies a very prominent location in West Philadelphia.

The south façade of the project defines an entire urban block along historic Market Street. The design takes advantage of its positioning providing activity spaces that capture unique views to Center City. 

The project adds much needed recreation program to the existing Daskalakis Center which is connected by an athletics gallery that unites the new Recreation Center with the existing DAC.

A public athletics gallery passes between the secure zones of the project and links Market Street and a courtyard, providing a gateway connection for the campus. The ground level features a public access zone with a lobby, lounge and cafe spaces that cater to both students and the public community.


The multipurpose gym is surrounded on three sides by a multi-story fitness mezzanine that takes advantage of the building orientation and the views to the surrounding urban context.

A climbing wall marks the opposite corner of the façade and provides the focal point for the outdoor recreational programs. 



Meets Green Globes NC building assessment

The facility employs a number of green features, including a system that collects rain water into a 36,000 gallon underground cistern. When working out on elliptical machines that use Re-Rev technology the kinetic energy is converted into electricity. A standard 30-minute workout on an elliptical can produce up to 50 watts of clean, carbon-free energy. 

The desire for a mostly glass façade facing south posed a design challenge. The solution employed a system of faceted and colored glass that creates a design statement and provides a method to decrease energy consumption. The configuration of the glazing reduces the peak solar gain at any given time thus reducing the cooling loads of the building while still preserving the transparent street appearance.


2011 Athletic Showcase Facilities of Merit, Athletic Business

Project Credits

Salvatore Canciello was project designer/project architect for this project while at Sasaki Associates (S3 continued to consult on this project after Sal and Bryan left Sasaki Associates) Bryan Dunkelberger directed the interior design for this project while at Sasaki Associates.