Swarthmore College, The Matchbox

Swarthmore College, The Matchbox
"We are so happy with this facility. It has already made a huge difference for our students and our teams. It really is better than we imagined it could be. Just look around. Everybody wants to be here."
- Eric Hoffman, Fitness Center Coordinator, Swarthmore College

Completed in the Fall of 2014, the building known as The Matchbox includes a large group exercise studio designed to support classes conferences, banquets and more; a fitness center with floor-toceiling glass to maximize interior daylight and to provide exercisers with views to the treetops and athletic fields; a strength training center for varsity athletes and a flexible theater space with its own entrance. An exterior plaza outside the strength center is paved with resilient rubber material to serve as a warm-up and exercise space for nice weather days.

SportsPLAN studio was engaged by CVMNEXT to guide the programming process and assist the design team in equipment planning, functional layout and material selection.

The facility is a masterpiece of clever materiality and reuse. It stands on the foundation of the former squash courts and makes use of an existing concrete retaining wall, which saved more than 25 tons of material from the landfill. Tongue-and-groove maple from the walls and floors of the squash courts were preserved and sawn for use as flooring and divider screens in the group exercise studio, as panels for the reception desk, donor plaques, locker room benches, cubbies and finishes. A pile of Swarthmore stone rubble found in the woods on campus was used by the masons to craft a rich and beautiful wall which tells a story of the campus architecture.


Feasibility Study
Master Planning
Design Consulting
Equipment Planning
Operational Planning

Program Features

6,000 SF Group Exercise Studio
6,400 SF Fitness Center
3,400 SF Strength Training Center
Flexible Theater Space
Project Manager: Joel Leider
Architect of Record: DIGSAU
Construction Mgr: CVMNEXT
Project Cost: NA
Owner Reference: Eric Hoffman, Fitness Center Coordinator
Completion Date: Fall 2014
Swarthmore College, The MatchboxSwarthmore College, The Matchbox