How can we help you?
We have a proven track record of over four decades in community recreation architecture.
Planning for before, during and after a project is our specialty. We set you up for success by defining the needs of the stakeholders and the goals of the community from the beginning. We balance program, budget and schedule with operations encompassing every decision.
A balanced approach
We build a strong foundation of knowledge from the start
Every runner needs to train before they race to the finish line. Think of a feasibility study like the training an athlete does.
We will customize a study to your specific project's needs. We can also collaborate with consultants.
We advocate the seven steps to success to collect insights and present a final report.
Seven Steps to Success:
- Vision + Research
- Community Input
- Needs Assessment
- Site Selection
- Conceptual Plans
- Confirm Budget
- Confirm Project Schedule
Savvy communities recognize that community recreation centers matter. Using our recreation knowledge and by partnering with a wide range of experts we develop comprehensive master plans for recreation and open spaces. Proper early planning can help shape decisions for a balanced approach to rightsize a future facility with a project budget, which in the end is designed to maximize participation and manage expectations.
Time for a check up!
We assess community recreation centers in terms of design, function and operations. Think of it as a Recreation Center Wellness Exam. We combine both a facility design critique and a utilization performance review to identify areas of improvement for the customer experience and the facility’s long-term health.
We work with you to clarify aims, objectives and priorities to align your facility with current needs of the community. We look at usage and operational data, survey responses, and building and site plans. During an onsite visit, we observe each space and learn from the operator what is working well and what is not working well. This thorough analysis results in an actionable to-do list to guide future planning efforts.
What is your mission?
We believe a good community recreation project offers “something for all,” yet should be planned to meet an agency’s cost recovery goals regardless of what they are. We can set you up to succeed by developing project goals, outlining budgets for expense and revenue projections, all while managing expectations by speaking in terms of total project budget.
A variety of things can be examined, most often:
- Mission & vision for the project – Balancing desired activities with program space revenue potential
- Budget – Understanding of total project budget: soft cost, hard costs and cost escalation
- Operating costs – Developing detailed budgets for expense and revenue projections
Operating logistics –Determining staffing needs, attendance estimates, fee structures and maintenance plans
The data defines us
BRS seeks to build recreational facilities that meet current and future needs and work symbiotically with other recreation services that are already in place. To do this, we conduct in-depth market analyses in the communities we work that includes examining the demographic characteristics (current and projected population, age cohorts, household incomes, education, gender, ethnicity) and geography (including drive, walk and bike times) of the center’s service area.
Additionally, it’s important to understand what services are already being offered whether it’s private, public or non-profits and what market demands exist that our centers can meet.
Citizens in the center
We involve the community from the beginning. We put the citizen’s wants and dreams at the center of our research. Then we bring our insights back to the steering committee to build consensus and manage expectations.
Our proven public process engages with a cross section of diverse citizens and key stakeholders in the community and fuels our passion for the work we do.
What does your community need?
We help answer the question “What does my community need?” From the physical condition assessment, to evaluating the intended use of spaces, we consider the full scope of your recreation offerings systemwide.
We will inform on national recreation trends and understand the multi-generational needs in community recreation. From pickleball to esports, we have expertise in evaluating programs and achieving multi-usefulness in the spaces we design.
Repair. Renovate. Replace.
We audit the existing conditions of a building and make recommendations to repair, renovate, or replace. We partner with the best professionals and experts to evaluate pool mechanical systems, electrical and mechanical systems, vehicle and foot traffic flow, finishes (carpet, paint, etc.), restrooms and locker rooms.
We can assess your facility through a new lens—to connect to program needs for master plans or citywide plans. We use a detailed assessment form that integrates a goals matrix identifying each facility and giving it a grade. This summary form allows the City to understand, in a big picture way, the overall condition of the entire collection of facilities or an individual one.
We get our hands dirty
Together with our professional partners and experts we look at the land—the acreage and the square feet. We gather information on slope, solar orientation, street access, parking, views to and from the location, utilities available, and drainage.
- Topographic Import
- Site Layout
- Grading and Stormwater
- Available/onsite infrastructure (sewer, utilities, water lines)
- Access to streets, trails, bike routes
- Swept Path
As part of the planning process we meet as many times as it takes to put together a human-centered concept. We discuss program and come up with a general idea of the spaces needed. We think out of the box and consider programs that are trending to maximize participation. We present a bubble diagram, and we establish adjacencies. We do an exercise on architectural style and any precedents that need to be considered. We establish design threads based on your own unique goals and we consider how you want your city to be represented. Finally, we present a floorplan and elevations with 3-D visualization.
Tell your story
In the planning stage, renderings and animations can help get feedback and generate excitement for your capital campaign.
- 3-D axonometric drawings
- Fly-around animations
- Fly-through animations
- Virtual reality tours
- Rendering boards
- Physical models
- Social Media
Our primary focus is the planning and design of community recreation centers. But we care equally about operational performances. We have built an extensive database of operational benchmarking information on our existing projects.
We use this data to inform how to balance program spaces that meet community needs, with meeting cost recovery goals of an agency. Benchmarking allows future clients to make real-world performance predictions.
Participants in our Benchmark Network gain exclusive access to our annual report, virtual roundtables, BRS research and other activities.
We consider the operators, the technical minded and the political sectors when working with a client. We understand that all the stakeholders have different goals to meet so we get the right people in the room at the right time. We balance experiential interpretation with evidence-based solutions.
We find architecture solutions that work for everyone from maintenance to the mayor
To us, Experiential Design is an inclusive process that aligns with our values, creates human connections with the built environment, makes memorable experiences, and fosters a sense of belonging. The result is a built experience that elicits emotional connections authentic to the community and reflects the specific people, place, and pace.
In this phase of design we establish the general scope, conceptual plans and the scale of the project. We consider current municipal codes, health codes, energy efficiency and design requirements. We consider the land - site relationships, civil landscaping, and landmarks. We coordinate system schematics with trade partners and we verify the cost against the budget.
In this phase of design we confirm decisions and get into the nitty gritty of the documents. We further refine the size and character of the project and we integrate the building systems, i.e. mechanical and electrical. The Owner’s Decision Matrix walks an owner through every decision. Our inclusive workshops assess the constraints and opportunities down the road.
In this phase of design we commit to decisions and describe the building in detail, both in words and drawings. The construction documents and project manual specify such things as mill work, window treatments and expansion joints to name a few.
In this phase we collaborate with contractors and consultants to hit deliverables and exceed expectations. During construction we review submittals and RFIs (Request For Information), attend OAC (Owner, Architect, Contractor) meetings and file field observation reports.
Our commitment to sustainability throughout our practice aligns with the firm’s fundamental purpose: to create places that improve community well-being.
Our goals and objectives to fulfill this purpose inherently support a passionate pursuit of sustainable design, processes, and development.
Areas of focus:
- Understanding and responding to the needs and aspirations of the users of the facilities we design
- Developing thoughtful practices and policies
- Reducing the carbon footprint of our facilities
- To design projects which provide a positive contribution to society
We elevate the conversation from “walls, floors, and doors” to “form, light, and color”
It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Our buildings reflect the communities we serve, and we carry this into interior spaces, too. Beyond color, texture, and pattern, we focus on the experience, memorable moments, and the emotional connection elicited from within.
Areas of expertise:
- Interior Finishes Selection
- Color and Materials Palettes
- Furniture Selection
- Interior Layout and Space-planning
- Millwork and Detailing
- Signage, Wayfinding and Branding
- Environmental Graphics
We play well in the sandbox with others
Building the right team is an important step in our process. We collaborate with architects, trade partners, contractors and engineers. We partner with your local architect. How can we support your project?
We have worked with...
Acoustic Designers, ADA Accessibility Consultants, Aquatic Designers, Associate Architects, Civil Engineers, Cost Estimators, Electrical Engineers, Feasibility & Operations Consultants, Geotechnical Consultants, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Mechanical Engineers, Office Master Specifications Developers, Public Artists, Public Engagement Consultants, Structural Engineers, Sustainability & LEED Consultants, Theatre Consultants, Quality Assurance, Indoor & Outdoor Playground Designers, and Waterslide & Aquatic Play Designers.
People Inspired Process
Your building should reflect your community and tell a story. Collectively, we determine the aims of the building. Then we ask five questions about your community and we listen to you. We take those insights and create design threads that weave through your project and tie concepts together.
Communities are at the heart of what we do
Hello person, how are you?
The key to a successful project is community support. We believe the process must be inclusive, interactive and authentic and if done well, the resulting designs are truly community inspired and uniquely reflect the people they serve and the places where they are built.
We ask you what you want to do with a space not what type of space you want. Our goal is to use the right kind of spaces for the right kind of things.
Areas of expertise:
- Interactive Public Meetings
- Interactive Open Houses
- Interactive Focus Groups
- Virtual or In-person Workshops
- City Council Presentations
- Surveys & Comment Cards
"Getting participation and feedback from the people helped us make our decisions."
The future is in the cards
Our facilitators will make your community meetings fun with our interactive Card Game and in turn, we will learn what your needs and dreams are. When you play our Card Game you will get insight into the estimated numbers behind your dream community center.
"What I like about this process is that it builds empathy."
Small fibers, large impacts
A design thread is a big idea or concept represented by words, images, and events.
Like a compass, design threads point the design in a direction (aesthetic, organizational or conceptual) that represents and fits the community it is intended to serve. These themes represent the unique beliefs which identify the people, the pace of life, and the place in which they live.
Tour, Tour, Tour!
One of the best ways to visualize your new facility is by visiting existing centers and walking through the halls to see them in action. We can set up a day of tours or individual locations for your stakeholder group.
BRS is the event sponsor of Rec Camp, an annual conference that includes tours and workshops on the subjects of community, architecture, management and planning. Find out more at rec-camp.com.
"The tours allowed us a common language."
Effective and focused
Our lean business philosophy is focused on providing our clients with increased value, greater project satisfaction and best use of available project funds. Lean tools we utilize include Pull Planning, Continuous Estimating, project kickoffs and debriefs, BRS’ proprietary Owner Decision Matrix with the 3C's and integrated teaming with a deep respect for each team member and their contributions.
Into the matrix
The ODM establishes the agenda for each workshop or meeting and indicates for the client which decision they need to make by what date in order to meet the project schedule and budget.
Our trademarked process helps to guide the lean process. To get buy in from all parties we ask the right people at the right time to consider a choice, confirm decisions and commit to them moving forward.
Begin with the end in mind
Instead of pushing tasks back we pull activities into place to successfully meet deadlines and keep projects on track.
Jump in the line
We design to a budget rather than budgeting a design. It’s an approach that prevents taking one step forward and two steps back like the tango. We can implement live estimating beginning in the Schematic Design Phase to reduce over promising and under delivering. It will have everyone dancing for joy as they yell “Conga!”