Seeking to create a modern and cohesive health and wellness space for the local Wausau community, the Woodson YMCA tapped Ghidorzi Design | Build | Develop to transform their 140,000 square foot downtown location into a more vibrant facility. Utilized to create an interior railing system across multiple applications within the facility, Banker Wire’s SJD-2 in stainless steel was key in maximizing natural light while simultaneously providing important safety boundaries within the space.
The new basketball courts are flooded with natural light from the upper-level running track’s expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide sweeping views of the city. To create the railing panel of the upper-level track, which spans the circumference of the basketball court, the design team required a material that would diffuse, but not impede the abundance of natural light to the basketball court below. Specified for its irregular, complex weave pattern and high percentage open area, SJD-2—framed within U-edge panels—was chosen for its functional and aesthetic value. Serving as both an eye-catching architectural detail and an important safety railing, the wire mesh railing in the stainless steel finish complements the nearby matte black steel, wood hand-railing finishes, and pops of floor color also within the space.
“By utilizing SJD-2, the amount of natural light on the basketball courts was reduced by thirty percent, which eliminated the risk of contrast behind the backboards,” says Mike Theiss, Architect and Project Manager, Ghidorzi. “The random weave pattern inside each panel helps reduce this contrast while still maintaining a feeling of openness, whether you are running on the track or playing basketball on the courts. The railing is functional, but also a focal point that creates visual interest.”
In regards to the open-plan, vertically-expansive reception area—with sight-lines spanning from the ground floor to the third floor—Ghidorzi’s design intent was to create a more ‘grounding’ design. To help define each level, Ghidorzi again leaned on Banker Wire’s SJD-2—also framed within U-edge panels to provide visual continuity throughout the facility. Creating horizontal sight-lines while allowing each level to remain visually connected, this railing was key in creating a more intuitive wayfinding system.
Overall, SJD-2 provided an important architectural feature within the reception and running track areas. The other architectural elements of the facility—such as the glass windows, and exposed structural steel—contain long, uninterrupted horizontal and vertical lines. The tight and irregular weave pattern of SJD-2, fabricated within the U-edge panels, breaks up those open structural expanses, creating texture and a point of interest within the large space.