The Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, in addition to providing a full program of athletic activities, is designed to link a number of existing athletic facilities and complete a campus master plan. It is a first stage of a two-stage project and is located on the "Infinite Corridor" which runs east-west through the MIT campus. By visually linking the south facades of the Johnson Athletic Center and the Stratton Student Center, it completes the north wall of a quadrangle envisioned by Eero Saarinen in his master plan for the development west of Massachusetts Avenue; and in so doing, it provides a fitting backdrop for the Kresge Auditorium. A major circulation path is provided within the complex running north-south to connect Vassar Street and student dorms to the north with the student social activities along the Infinite Corridor.
The center contains a natatorium with two pools. The competition pool, surrounded by spectator seating, is 75 yards in width for collegiate swimming events and 50 meters in length to accommodate Olympic events. A six-lane, 75-yard teaching and lap pool is also provided. As the natatorium volume rises up to the building roof, the other activity spaces surround and overlook it. The administrative offices and the health fitness facility are located along the south side of the building on the second floor. The multi-activity court, six squash courts, and spectator seating are on the third floor.
A curved glass wall that matches the height of the Johnson and Stratton buildings develops a sense of continuity with the adjacent buildings; and its transparency, especially at night, reveals the health fitness opportunities available within the building. The insulating glass panels are composed of patterned glass on the exterior and tinted gray glass on the inside face. This combination produces a thermally efficient wall which permits views out while reducing glare in the activity space. Along the first floor a series of arcades formed by limestone columns and beams repeats the materials of the neoclassical academic buildings to the east, helping to relate this complex to the main campus.
The Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center is much admired by the Institute as well as the supporting alumni. It was constructed on budget and on time.