THE HARRISON FIELD COMMUNITY HOUSE

LOCATION: Berkeley, California
TYPOLOGY: Community | Recreation
CLIENT: Associated Sports Fields Users
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,200 SFT

Photography © 2018 Billy Hustace

Sited adjacent to athletic fields and a skate park, The Harrison Field House is programmed to serve the general public (snack bar, rest area, bathrooms), the community (meeting room), the ASFU administration (offices and multi-purpose room), the maintenance staff (storage and maintenance areas), and the athletic teams (sports equipment storage and coach’s room). The client was a collaborative group consisting of the city and a non-profit community group. The park and its surroundings provide an intriguing context for the field house. Paralleling railroad tracks and a freeway, it is in the heart of the city’s industrial zone whose gritty setting is strikingly juxtaposed with a tranquil stretch of grass athletic fields.

The community expressed an ideal that the field house’s image would well represent a community identity and would also be relevant to its local context. Further, the brief asked for a building that would be bright and cheerful and speak to the core of the project – a place to play. The response was to create forms in materials recalling the industrial surroundings while evoking the barn-like structures found in pastoral settings. Durability and security in this location, and for the young skateboard and soccer players were also critical requirements. This requirement became an architectural opportunity: sliding exterior panels are sheathed in diamond plate in complement with the corrugated metal skin.

The approximately 3,000 SF building had to be constructed for less than $300,000. To meet this challenge, the non-profit client group found many people within the community to donate time and materials for this old fashioned “barn-raising” of a building that contains community meeting rooms, coach rooms, offices, maintenance bays, bathrooms, kitchen and concession window. The project actual hard cost was $288,000. The programmed spaces were designed to exploit two contrasting vistas – an open expanse of lush fields versus the dense historic build-up of industry. Thus, the meeting rooms and offices face the fields while the upstairs multi-purpose space has windows looking out on four sides, and the maintenance bays are exposed to the industrial neighbors.  


© 2017 by MARCY WONG DONN LOGAN ARCHITECTS. All Rights Reserved.