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Nike opens LeBron James Innovation Center

Architecture practice Olson Kundig has completed the LeBron James Innovation Center at the Nike World Headquarters in the US city of Beavertown, Oregon. The new 65,000 sq m building, named after iconic basketball player and longtime Nike collaborator LeBron James, unites more than 700 innovation-focused Nike staff – from biomechanics researchers and robotics experts to computational designers – in one space in order to foster cross-pollination and collaboration.

The centre provides a hub for research and development, including the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) at the top of the building, which cantilevers above the main entrance, featuring a mega truss structure and waffle slab base that nods to the waffle pattern of early Nike shoes.

The NSRL, kitted out with the world’s largest motion-capture installation, environmental chambers and body-mapping equipment, also features a full-sized basketball court and partial football pitch, and connects to a striking inclined running track on the building exterior. Upon entering the building, staff and visitors encounter an open, four-story central atrium space which is designed to enable collaboration and spontaneous interaction.

‘In a way this project is like the culmination of a career spent pursuing authenticity – in architecture, in systems, in materials,’ says Tom Kundig, project lead and principal of Olson Kundig. ‘I’ve always felt the basis of architecture is function-driven with a poetic finish. The physicality and athleticism you see in this building is something I’ve been exploring throughout my career at a variety of scales.’

 

Photo: Designed by Olson Kundig, the new complex in Oregon provides a hub for research and development – with an external ramped running track.