The new VCU Basketball Development Center is designed as a place of pride and inspiration for players and coaches, as a source of amazement for fans and donors, and as an awe-inspiring point of reassurance for young recruits. Located on West Marshall Street, north of the Siegel Center in downtown Richmond, the new Basketball Development Center provides both the men’s and women’s programs with state-of-the-art facilities in one 62,000 square foot, two-story building that aids in recruiting and player/team development. The building is at once fresh and also timeless – a comfortable place to play and work every day.

The design celebrates the activities within the facility and strives to connect fans and passersby to the VCU Rams basketball programs. Clerestory lighting and expanses of translucent glass foster a sense of openness and fellowship with the surrounding campus community. Inside the facility, hubs of activity recall the vigorous momentum of the men’s and women’s basketball programs and relay this focused energy palpably to passersby.

The building is characterized by a strong roof line that unifies the various building elements and defines a block-long glass building volume. Smaller building elements “slide” under this unifying roof and engage the glass volume, breaking down the building scale without denying daylighting through the primary glass clerestory. The facility works to function as a ‘good neighbor’ by maintaining a scale that is in keeping with the Carver neighborhood and by using brick book-ends where the glass and metal-shingle building faces older residential buildings.

The new VCU Basketball Development Center is designed as a place of pride and inspiration for players and coaches, as a source of amazement for fans and donors, and as an awe-inspiring point of reassurance for young recruits. Located on West Marshall Street, north of the Siegel Center in downtown Richmond, the new Basketball Development Center provides both the men’s and women’s programs with state-of-the-art facilities in one 62,000 square foot, two-story building that aids in recruiting and player/team development. The building is at once fresh and also timeless – a comfortable place to play and work every day.

The design celebrates the activities within the facility and strives to connect fans and passersby to the VCU Rams basketball programs. Clerestory lighting and expanses of translucent glass foster a sense of openness and fellowship with the surrounding campus community. Inside the facility, hubs of activity recall the vigorous momentum of the men’s and women’s basketball programs and relay this focused energy palpably to passersby.

The building is characterized by a strong roof line that unifies the various building elements and defines a block-long glass building volume. Smaller building elements “slide” under this unifying roof and engage the glass volume, breaking down the building scale without denying daylighting through the primary glass clerestory. The facility works to function as a ‘good neighbor’ by maintaining a scale that is in keeping with the Carver neighborhood and by using brick book-ends where the glass and metal-shingle building faces older residential buildings.

Located on West Marshall Street, north of the Siegel Center, the VCU Basketball Practice Facility provides both the men’s and women’s programs with state-of-the-art facilities in one 62,000 square foot, two-story building that will aid in recruiting and player/team development.
Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center
Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center

The basketball practice courts are the heart of the new facility and are available day and night for players and coaches to hone their craft. Not merely gymnasiums, the courts pulse with the vibrancy of the current programs while offering an unparalleled set of immediately-accessible amenities, including strength and conditioning rooms, physical therapy and hydrotherapy areas, and video viewing and editing rooms.

Abundant transparency offers direct views to and from coaches’ offices, conference suites, lounges, and locker rooms which wrap the courts on the upper floor. Men’s and women’s sides are mirror images of each other, programmatically, while offering distinguishing finish selections.

The courts are conceived not only as ‘practice’ spaces, but simultaneously as ‘training’ and ‘education’ spaces. Dedicated zones outside the playing boundaries are able to accommodate aerobic and resistance training equipment as well as critical everyday equipment items such as basketball returns. Dedicated film rooms are open to and adjacent to the court and offer the ability for teams to flow effortlessly from film room to practice floor without significant down-time.


The basketball practice courts are the heart of the new facility and are available day and night for players and coaches to hone their craft. Not merely gymnasiums, the courts pulse with the vibrancy of the current programs while offering an unparalleled set of immediately-accessible amenities, including strength and conditioning rooms, physical therapy and hydrotherapy areas, and video viewing and editing rooms.

Abundant transparency offers direct views to and from coaches’ offices, conference suites, lounges, and locker rooms which wrap the courts on the upper floor. Men’s and women’s sides are mirror images of each other, programmatically, while offering distinguishing finish selections.

The courts are conceived not only as ‘practice’ spaces, but simultaneously as ‘training’ and ‘education’ spaces. Dedicated zones outside the playing boundaries are able to accommodate aerobic and resistance training equipment as well as critical everyday equipment items such as basketball returns. Dedicated film rooms are open to and adjacent to the court and offer the ability for teams to flow effortlessly from film room to practice floor without significant down-time.


Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center
The design celebrates the activities within the facility and strives to connect fans and passersby to the VCU Rams basketball programs.
The facility works to function as a ‘good neighbor’ by maintaining a scale that is in keeping with the Carver neighborhood and by using brick book-ends where the glass and metal-shingle building faces older residential buildings.

Interior spaces resonate with the passion and energy of the VCU men’s and women’s basketball programs. In the lobby, main stair, and second floor dining area, a rich palette of terrazzo flooring, wood paneling, perforated metal, and glass provides a powerful backdrop for the VCU story conveyed throughout the facility. The second floor team areas transition to a more youthful architectural character, reflecting the contemporary materiality and aesthetic s appealing to recruits and players.

Outside, the site is surrounded by an eclectic mix of buildings—old and new, publicly and privately owned. The building’s exterior materials have been selected to harmonize and unify the architectural language in the immediate vicinity, simultaneously conveying a sense of respect for context and an anticipation of great things to come.

Referencing the neighborhood context, red brick is vertically articulated on the east and west sides of the facility. Zinc tiles on the Marshall Street ‘bar’ evoke textures from mansarded buildings in the vicinity. Perforated metal sunshades are mounted vertically at southfacing windows to provide solar-shading and glare-control. Perforated metal is also utilized above the main entry, providing a dynamic and engaging focal point for arriving occupants and visitors. Brick, glass, and slate wrap the ground floor retail and conference spaces – adding a sense of refinement and vibrancy to the pedestrian experience of the streetscape.

Interior spaces resonate with the passion and energy of the VCU men’s and women’s basketball programs. In the lobby, main stair, and second floor dining area, a rich palette of terrazzo flooring, wood paneling, perforated metal, and glass provides a powerful backdrop for the VCU story conveyed throughout the facility. The second floor team areas transition to a more youthful architectural character, reflecting the contemporary materiality and aesthetic s appealing to recruits and players.

Outside, the site is surrounded by an eclectic mix of buildings—old and new, publicly and privately owned. The building’s exterior materials have been selected to harmonize and unify the architectural language in the immediate vicinity, simultaneously conveying a sense of respect for context and an anticipation of great things to come.

Referencing the neighborhood context, red brick is vertically articulated on the east and west sides of the facility. Zinc tiles on the Marshall Street ‘bar’ evoke textures from mansarded buildings in the vicinity. Perforated metal sunshades are mounted vertically at southfacing windows to provide solar-shading and glare-control. Perforated metal is also utilized above the main entry, providing a dynamic and engaging focal point for arriving occupants and visitors. Brick, glass, and slate wrap the ground floor retail and conference spaces – adding a sense of refinement and vibrancy to the pedestrian experience of the streetscape.

“VCU Athletics cannot thank Barton Malow and VMDO, the contractor and architect of the project, enough for their hard work and creativity on this project. Since day one, their professionalism, ingenuity and vision has aligned with our needs and even exceeded our expectations. This facility is an enormous project, but Barton Malow and VMDO have responded impressively to the task of constructing a complex that will help us win more championships and secure our place as a Top 25 program. ”

– Ed McLaughlin Director of Athletics, Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center Dining
Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center Locker Room
Virginia Commonwealth University Basketball Development Center Player Lounge

Client: Virginia Commonwealth University

Location: Richmond, VA

Discipline: Practice & Training

Completion: 2015

Size: 62,000 SF

Awards Received

2016 Award Winner
DBIA Hampton Roads

2016 Honorable Mention
AIA Central Virginia

2016 Best Project Award for Sports/Entertainment
ENR Mid-Atlantic Region

2016 Institutional Sports + Recreation Award
Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate