A Building for LeBron

Nike to name Olson Kundig-designed Innovation Building after LeBron James

A rendering of Olson Kundig's design for the LeBron James Building on the new Nike World Headquarters Campus. (Courtesy Olson Kundig and Nike)

Oregon-based sportswear giant Nike announced that it will name its new Advanced Innovation Building after basketball legend LeBron James, who has been sponsored by the company since entering the NBA in 2003. The LeBron James Building will form part of the company’s newly expanded World Headquarters (WHQ) near Beaverton, just outside Portland, Oregon.

According to Nike, the LeBron James Building will play host to the company’s Advanced Innovation team, a group of scientists, designers, engineers, and other professionals whose work centers on sports science. The team is responsible for inventing products that will improve performance among athletes of all kinds, including professional players like James. Much of the team’s work will be completed in the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL), which will grow five-fold when the new building opens. Designed by Seattle-based architects Olson Kundig in collaboration with Mortenson Construction, the facility will also boast a full NBA regulation-sized basketball court, a 200-meter endurance track, an artificial turf field, and a 100-meter straightaway.

Rendering of a building

A rendering shows a ramp extending along one side of the LeBron James Building, providing athletes with a hill-like training environment. (Courtesy Olson Kundig and Nike)

The most eye-catching architectural feature of the new structure is a massive overhang extending outward from the fourth floor, where the NSRL will be housed. The ceiling on the underside of the cantilever is composed of a waffle-patterned concrete slab—supposedly a nod to Nike’s history of material innovation. A 500-foot-long ramp stretches along one side of the building at a 15.63 percent incline, giving athletes a unique training environment on a largely hill-free campus. Portland-based landscape architecture firm PLACE is responsible for designing the grounds.

Slated to open in 2020, the LeBron James Building will join a number of facilities at Nike’s WHQ that are named after famous professionals from the sporting world. The sprawling Beaverton campus is home to a fitness center honoring basketball coach Michael Krzyzewski, an office building named after middle-distance runner Sebastian Coe, and a parking garage celebrating the sports teams of New York City. Nike will also debut the Skylab Architecture-designed Serena Williams Building next year.

Related Stories