UNM Johnson Center Expansion and Renovation

Albuquerque, NM

FBT Architects partnered with Hastings+Chivetta to transform the University of New Mexico’s outdated Johnson Center Recreation facility into a 21st-century student-focused hub of campus activity and health.

Beginning with a Master Plan for the 375,000 sf, 60+ year old facility, the design team worked with UNM students, faculty, alumni and the Facilities Management Department to capture the vision for diverse user groups. The result was a cutting-edge program designed to attract and retain students while maintaining the budget for a complex building system overlay.

Originally built in 1957, numerous additions had created a complex wayfinding and circulation challenge, with visitors often getting lost in the maze of hallways. A new east-west concourse simplified the problem unifying previously separated areas. This glass-walled concourse creates a new entry and pre-event gathering space for the adjacent performance gym–connecting the renovated practice gyms, new fitness suite, training zones and outdoor activities suite. The mezzanine running track circles the perimeter of the new addition and is visible from the exterior.

The updated Johnson Center provides a welcoming state-of-the-art fitness facility with abundant natural light and expansive views of the Sandia Mountains. Exterior landscape architecture incorporates native plantings appropriate to the climate and reflects UNM’s commitment to a green campus. The new exterior façade engages with the surrounding campus and creates a positive first impression for campus visitors.