Indiana University Cook Hall Basketball Facility
Structural Precast Elements:
• Carbon fiber wythe connectors deter thermal bridging through panels
Hoosier basketball nets cost-effective CarbonCast enclosure with right aesthetic
Iconic Assembly Hall arena, home of the storied Hoosier Basketball program, seems to have met its spiritual counterpoint. The massive, barrel vaulted concrete structure is now complemented by Cook Hall, a new 67,000-square-foot men’s and women’s basketball training and practice facility that echoes its vaulted theme and buff concrete color, but is almost ethereal by comparison.
Cook Hall’s contemporary design looks to the future of a well-established legacy program. Designed by the Kansas City office of Populous, formerly HOK Sports, it recognizes the prevalence of Indiana limestone that’s everywhere on campus. The precast treatment on the new facility blends in without trying to look like limestone, but with color, texture and pattern that make a good reference to limestone.
“Precast is a different material than what’s been used in this area of campus,” says Sara Pizarro Subtil, project architect for Populous, the architect of record. “The design freedom allowed us to create an aesthetically interesting image for an athletic complex. It fits with the context but is visually striking.” The precast panels allow the concrete arch structures to be expressed, she notes.
The building is characterized by a succession of ten structural concrete arches that span the building volumes. Forming the base of the building is a thermally efficient enclosure of CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels fabricated by High Concrete Group LLC’s Springboro Ohio plant. The general contractor was Weddle Brothers Building Group LLC.
Exterior wall with minimal thickness plus durability
The teams have a dedicated full court practice facility in the east end of the building, with observation decks and drink stations adjacent to their respective suites. The gyms are surrounded on three sides by the CarbonCast enclosure. “We were excited about CarbonCast because we were able to cast the panels with the insulation inside, which made the overall wall thickness minimal,” says Pizarro Subtil. “This allowed us to use more acoustical panels inside the gyms without having them stick out.”
The panels encapsulate a 2” layer of rigid XPS foam insulation for continuous insulation as defined by the ASHRAE 90.1 energy code. CarbonCast technology utilizes C-GRID® carbon fiber wythe ties that provide fully composite structural performance with low thermal conductivity. The thermally efficient envelope delivers an average R-10.
Located on the west end of the structure, the entry consists of a large glazed volume emphasizing openness and connection to a new entrance plaza that provides an exterior extension of the lobbies of Assembly Hall and Cook Hall for the Hall of Fame. Visitors enter through Legacy Court, a hall of interactive displays and tributes to the legendary coaches, players, fans and victories. Central to the space, an illuminated two-story tower draws attention to the Hoosiers' five national championship trophies. Above are the basketball offices, and terraces that open beneath the arches.
Clerestory windows were used in the practice courts to provide natural day lighting. Offices for the coaching staffs were placed on the exterior walls to capture daylight while internal spaces such as the reception areas have views into the hall of fame.
CarbonCast panels give freedom to articulate surface aesthetically
A precast fascia forms a soffit around the transition from the second floor offices, in a similar pattern to the larger panels that go around the basketball courts. At the inside corner the soffit turns toward the ground, where the two volumes go together from the balcony. The line of material from the back side of the building wraps around, turns and hits grade to terminate the line.
“The basic lines of Cook Hall take inspiration from limestone, but precast takes it a step further to do something limestone could never do,” says Pizarro Subtil. “The design possibilities of precast are limitless.”
The design team took painstaking efforts with the precast panels to ensure that the corners were treated properly. They reviewed photos of the formliner in the molds before the mix was poured, and the precast panels in production. The exterior wythes of the precast sandwich panels were a limestone color close to the PCI Architectural Precast Concrete Color and Texture Selection Guide sample #109; the interior wythes comprised a standard gray backer mix which further controlled cost of the finished product. In two exit stairways the panels received a steel trowel finish that was left unpainted.
The design intent was for the precast color to be similar to the Indiana Limestone color of the existing Alumni Center facing the new Cook Hall practice facility. The color of the cast-in-place concrete was specified to be natural based on the mix of cement and local aggregates, and its finished color was even more complementary to the precast than originally expected by the design team. “The arches are close in color to the precast,” says Pizarro Subtil. “The color wound up more buff than expected due to the local sand in the mix. It was a happy accident that it was close to the precast in color. It was going to be what it was going to be.”
CarbonCast is a registered trademark of AltusGroup, Inc. C-GRID is a registered trademark of Chomarat N.A.