The Spurs are building the largest lumber training facility in professional sports

The most grueling four days of architect Kathy Berg’s life were when she joined the San Antonio Spurs on a road trip, experiencing how the team got from plane to hotel to game and back again, covering multiple time zones amid having to present to council – top condition.

Then the ZGF partner and head of the Spurs’ new training facility, which opened in October as the Victory Capital Performance Center, knew he had to focus the design on connecting players outside, with sunlight and nature, all for performance benefits.

“I realized how little time they spend outside,” she tells me, “how much time they spend crossing time zones where the light conditions change.” Add in sports science research showing the stress of travel on the body, and Berg had a focus: “Let figure out how to create a space where athletes, staff members and coaches can go outside and connect with natural light and spend time in nature in a facility focused on recovery.”

ZGF, a Pacific Northwest-based architecture firm, knows nature. And construction with timber. Both offer key components of the San Antonio project, which at 138,900 square feet becomes the largest mass training facility in professional sports.

With no full-time professional training on the firm’s resume, Berg says she approached the project without any preconceived notions. “It left us more open to exploring options, and the number of options we went through, you can’t begin to count,” she says. “We were trying new things and pulling ideas from other disciplines.”

The focus was on showcasing not only the 20 players on the roster, but all 100 people who work at the facility. “If a coach comes in and doesn’t have the right workspace or tools, it’s going to affect the players,” Berg says.

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