Occupying 15,000 SF within the existing Casanova Center, the ZGF-designed Athletic Medicine Center provides the University of Oregon’s athletic department with a state-of-the-art sports therapy and training facility for more than 400 student-athletes. The facility captures the changing nature of healthcare design, reflecting the University’s desire for a holistic approach to healing, stimulation, and focus for its athletes. Comprising three larger spaces bordered by conference and treatment rooms, the Athletic Medicine Center provides ample space for treadmills and exercise bikes, three hydrotherapy tubs, hot and cold tubs, a nutrition bar, a treatment area with adjacent examination rooms, massage and taping tables, a student seating area, an X-ray facility, and meeting rooms. The design approaches sports therapy as a healing environment more comparable to a spa than a clinic. While it is common for athletes who have suffered injuries to become isolated from the rest of their team, this circumstance is mitigated in the new facility, with spaces that maintain visual continuity and connection, but also offer built-in privacy. Glass in the medical exam rooms is transparent, but it can be transformed to an opaque barrier when needed. Separated by a water feature, the therapy pools for injured players are in the same space as the plunge pools for other players. A similar need exists to keep staff both integrated and separated from the athletes. The sophisticated layering of spaces allows people to be grouped or split in an innovative way.
The legacy of the athletes is embedded into the treatment and conference spaces with bold and provocative use of color, texture, and typography. Inspired by iconic record album covers and athletic fashion, ZGF developed a typographic system that was designed to be strong, timeless, and tough—all elements prescribed by the center’s occupants. Visual elements found throughout the building include a seating area featuring four sandblasted glass screens depicting students in various athletic stances, while an adjacent oak wall is branded with the names of important coaches in honor of their leadership; and at the nutrition bar, leather-covered stools laser-etched with sports records and statistics, and the University’s signature “O” symbol created from aluminum rods that penetrate the glass wall behind the bar.