University of Houston-Clear Lake Recreation and Wellness Center

UHCL SmithGroup Higher Education
University of Houston Clear Lake SmithGroup
University of Houston Clear lake SmithGroup
University of Clear Lake SmithGroup
University of Clear Lake Houston SmithGroup
University of Houston Clear Lake SmithGroup
Univesity of Houston Cleark Lake SmithGroup
University of Houston Clear lake SmithGroup

With its bold, contemporary design, the Recreation and Wellness Center brings welcome vitality and student life to the University of Houston-Clear Lake, reflecting its transformation to a four-year institution.


University of Houston-Clear Lake


Clear Lake, Texas


Architecture, Athletics, Recreation, & Wellness, Higher Education, Interiors, MEP Engineering


81,000 SF

Featured Awards

The Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Awards, 2019

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After successfully serving upper level and graduate courses for 45 years, the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) was undergoing a shift from a commuter campus for continuing education to a lively four-year home of resident students. Amidst the rapid growth in enrollment resulting from this transition, the idea of a new landmark Recreation & Wellness facility was born—providing not only an essential student life amenity, but also serving as a point-of-pride campus landmark and beacon of wellness to the University and surrounding community.


University Houston Clear Lake SmithGroup


A key recruiting tool for the University, the center marries student life with wellness-focused academics as the new home to the University’s Exercise & Health Science Department. A large central pass-through lobby divides the recreation and academic wings, while still providing high transparency into all spaces to promote collaboration between the two pro-grams.

Recreational amenities include fitness/exercise spaces, an indoor track, and multi-use athletic courts for club sports, intramurals and personal training.


SmithGroup Clear Lake University Houston

The building’s orientation and inviting facade creates a natural transition to the campus green (a key pedestrian route through campus) and future growth area to the north.

Working with SmithGroup on this project was a wonderful experience. The creativity, functionality, future-focused design and their team’s professionalism was on display at all times. The facility itself is an amazing addition to a campus undergoing a significant culture shift and has placed much needed focus on health and wellness.

Brian Mills
Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness

SmithGroup’s design includes three new exercise science focused labs served as the catalyst for the creation of the Exercise and Nutritional Health Institute, a community-based research institute with a mission to improve the health and functional performance of community individuals. Laboratory design supports advanced studies in motor control and biomechanics, with spaces suitable for analyzing sprinting and throwing motions.

With its broad glass curtain wall, bright interiors and natural lighting, the Recreation & Wellness Center emphasizes a new on-campus energy at UHCL, setting the tone for the campus’ continued transformation.