Resolution: 4 partner Joseph Tanney gives health-club locker rooms a thorough design workout
Debra Scott -- Interior Design, 3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
When Resolution: 4 Architecture partner Joseph Tanney designed the locker rooms at a New York branch of Equinox, the image-conscious health-club chain, his concept started outside, in Times Square. The stress relief begins in a plaza sunken beneath the bustle of Broadway and continues progressively as members pass the doors, the check-in desk, the café, and the shop—all in a straight line—to arrive in the middle of the cardio zone, with its throbbing techno and machine jockeys. Here, horizontal becomes vertical as stairs descend to a crucial choice: left for men, right for women.
Inside, the men's and women's locker rooms share many similarities. In both, Tanney was obliged to lower the ceilings to accommodate mechanical systems, but what might have been a disadvantage actually serves the overall design. "The compression reinforces the axial relationship," he says. A ramp leads past blond maple lockers and the wet zone, with sinks on one side and toilets on the other. However, the locker rooms do differ slightly in footprint—the women's has extra changing rooms—and in the color of stylish glass-tile bands on the walls. (The men's is blue-green; the women's is blue-red.) Movement through the locker rooms is choreographed by the undulating tile walls as they unfurl, ribbonlike, to wrap with one last curl around the steam room. The fact that the steam room's door is actually behind the curl, facing the back wall, contributes to the feeling of refuge. "It's a crescendo," says Tanney, "that ends in the ultimate sanctuary."
Even when members leave the locker room, it maintains a strong presence from the vantage point of the circuit-training area. The long volume, slipped under the beams, becomes another architectural element. And the series of cuts notched into the top creates a certain rhythm, helpful during those grueling repetitions.
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