Robert Crown Community Center and Library
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Client : City of Evanston
Area : 134,000 sf
Program : Twin-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Double Gymnasium, Branch Library, Fitness Studios, Art Studios, Child Care Center, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Office Space, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Two Soccer Fields, One American Football Field, Two Baseball Diamonds, Four Tennis Courts, Landscaped Spectator Viewing Terraces, Playground, Community Courtyard, Public Park)
Associated Architects : Woodhouse Tinucci Architects
The Robert Crown Community Centre brings together an indoor twin-pad arena with fixed seats for 970 spectators, an upper-level walking track and viewing gallery, a large gymnasium, a public library, community multipurpose rooms, a preschool, and a landscaped courtyard to form a dynamic, multi-use social hub. Nestled in the richly landscaped parkland of Evanston’s Crown Park, the building opens into a beautiful natural setting, creating connections between the indoors and out. A green land bridge ties the building to the site’s playing fields, while glazing at grade wraps around the building’s perimeter, allowing views into the building from the street and views of the street and fields from within. A carefully screened courtyard reading garden, open to the sky, anchors the facility’s main vehicular intersection, with direct access to the Library and Community Centre.
The building’s essential form comprises two long, offset masses limited to two storeys in height to match the surrounding houses. Within these volumes are a pair of NHL-sized ice rinks running north–south, side by side; the eastern volume is taller, its roof gently graded downward from west-facing clerestories above raked spectator seating, with change rooms, referee rooms, and skate rental below. This eastern volume is also longer and contains, at its south end, a ground-floor library and second-floor gym. A two-storey concourse extends the width of both masses, separating ice rink from library and housing the entryway and lobby, as well as programmatic areas including a preschool, art rooms, multipurpose rooms, and a fitness centre with studio spaces. Elsewhere in the 134,000-square-foot interior are a community kitchen, concessions, and admin and support spaces.
The renovated sports park features three multi-sport fields, tennis courts, and parking; closer to the structure are courtyard terraces and a screened reading garden connected to the library and community centre. At-grade glass around the perimeter of the building allows views both in (to the RCCC’s programming) and out (to the park and surrounding neighbourhood), making the new facility a welcoming space that’s destined to become a vital part of the City’s efforts to maximize the community’s quality of life.