Focus On Physical Plant


Part Four: Designing a Club From the Front Door

From the point where a person first sees your club to the moment he walks out the door, he should be impressed with the experience. In this fourth and final edition of our series on excellent club design, Rudy Fabiano of Fabiano Designs International in Montclair, N.J., walks club operators through a facility designed for success, from the group fitness studio to the locker room.

Group Fitness/Aerobics Rooms
This room has quietly diversified into the multipurpose center of the club. We like to treat the facade of this area as a primary feature in the club.


-Size and location appropriate to your programming


-Flooring and finishes

-Storage spaces or rooms to accommodate the programming


-Multitasking: accommodate various programs

-Audiovisual - big-screen televisions

-Diverse lighting schemes

-Multiple rooms

-Quiet room

Cardiovascular Area
This has been the fastest-growing area of the modern gym. Everyone designing clubs has taken advantage of the nature of the exercise and raised it above the sea of equipment - the cardio deck. This works extremely well to diversify spatial experiences and add interest to the club. The explosion of mezzanines has really added a great feel to the gym, and by and large these areas are used for cardio.


-Multiple decks or areas

-Power requirements

-Viewing length and angle of televisions

-Consider facing some equipment toward the outside

-Understand the depth of equipment and clear pathways

-ADA Compliance (elevators, ramps and lifts)


-Group cardio

-More natural light

-Personalized entertainment systems

-Web access

Workout Floor
This is an area most owners know a lot about, but spend the least time designing. We are seeing a more sophisticated approach to placing the equipment. Observe users and how the actual equipment is used, and make sure you and your designers accommodate this.


-Proper mirror location and size


-Non-glare lighting

-Durable material



-Large screen entertainment centers

- Individualized workout spaces

-Multiple areas without creating multiple rooms

-A lot of natural light

Locker Rooms
Locker rooms have endured a slow but steady path toward decency. Finally the gang showers are almost gone and the importance of comfortable locker rooms is understood. Amenities and personal space are the new buzzwords.


-Environmental controls

-Saunas and steams

-Durability and life cost cycle of materials

-Diverse lighting levels

-Correct number of fixtures based on the national plumbing code and other local codes

-Appropriate number of lockers for memberships

-Private changing booths in lockers and drying areas

-ADA compliance


-Bigger and more amenities

-Changing booths in men's locker rooms

-Private toilet area with individual sinks

-Higher quality materials

-Entertainment centers

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