The Environmental Design of NC State’s Carmichael Gymnasium

North Carolina State University offers a public gymnasium on Main Campus. Open daily, Carmichael Gym is busy with students as they go to get their workout in. Because it’s such a hot spot for so many people throughout the day, it’s essential that the environmental design considers elements of appeal and the ease of navigation. This gym is very open, organized, and welcoming for students of all body types, whilst implementing NC State’s spirit. Personally, I enjoy the overall feeling I get from the gym beyond working out–I think that it’s aesthetically pleasing and appealing to the eye, as much as a gym could get.

Carmichael Gym is neatly displayed in respect to the layout of its machines. The arrangement of machinery is usually lined up equally, making the overall appearance more aesthetic and pleasing to the eye. An example of this can be found in the second attached image where the treadmills are perfectly aligned. Each unit is also typically grouped by its function or area of group muscle–whether that be standard appliances such as squat racks, benches, dumbbells, or more. When working out the upper or lower body, Carmichael gym is pretty meticulous in keeping everything organized in an understandable manner. This is significant because if random machines were randomly placed everywhere, it would be difficult for a guest to find the proper appliance they seek. Keeping everything in a comprehensible setup is preferred and successfully implemented at NC State’s gymnasium.

Being an on-campus gymnasium, the overall ‘vibe’ that is created at Carmichael Gym is in relationship to the school spirit of North Carolina State University. NC State’s color red is heavily influenced and can be found throughout the gym as red accents are found on the machines, signage, walls, doors, etc. In the third attached image, the word “Wolfpack” can be found designed on the turf. This term is popular at NC State, as it’s relevant to our school mascot and an overall sense of who we are. Another important aspect that contributes to the ‘vibe’ of the gymnasium is relevant to the general modernism of NC State. Throughout campus, our school’s environmental design can be described as contemporary. At Carmichael, these elements are included mainly in the lighting and architecture. In the first attached image, there are rectangular lights leading down the hallway. These lights are relatively modern to present-day environmental design due to its minimalistic simplicity. Another interesting factor of this image are the wavy lines on the ground. This creates an aura of movement, and visually it can cause a guest to want to travel down the hallway and around the gym. In the second attached image, the architecture displays a sort of modernistic feeling. The ceiling is slightly curved, which is not so standard and develops personality for the room.

One of the reasons that so many people struggle to find the courage to come to the gym is their fear of not knowing where anything is. Because Carmichael Gym has four separate floors, it’s important that navigation is easy to come by so that each visitor feels comfortable with finding their way around. The signage that can be found at the gym is rather vague, and details of each area are not very apparent. If there were to be one thing I could change about Carmichael Gym, it’s definitely the way-finding system. I would add an interactive directory that allows a guest to show where each machine could be found throughout the gym. An additional feature I would add is displaying some sort of crowd meter, so that any individual that wants to work out but feels uncomfortable around a large group of people could locate an area that’s more enjoyable for them.

Carmichael Gym Image #1

Carmichael Gym Image #2

Carmichael Gym Image #3


Jamie Laurel