FRISCO, Texas — From its retractable glass façade that opens to an indoor/outdoor football field to its light-filled strength training room surrounded by glass walls, the new Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex puts human health and sports performance on public display with "a new kind of architecture."

The 300,000-square-foot complex recently celebrated its grand opening at The Star, a massive, mixed-use development that’s anchored by the headquarters of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.

The facility represents a first-of-its-kind partnership between an NFL team, a health system, and a local school district (Frisco Intermediate School District). 

The new Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex also happens to be adjacent to the Omni Frisco Hotel, where Roofing Contractor will host the 2018 Best of Success conference, Sept. 24-25. Registration is open for the event.

Visiting the Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex is an educational opportunity as much as it is a health care destination for recreational and professional athletes, according to Ron Stelmarski, principal at architecture firm Perkins+Will and lead designer of the complex.

“The complex is designed to showcase the link between active lifestyles and physical health so that every visitor leaves feeling more informed and inspired,” said Stelmarski.

9 Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex - Tower LobbyUpon entering through the front doors, patients and visitors observe the science of athleticism and sports medicine and intuit the relationship between physical activity and well-being. Patients then have the opportunity to use the same facilities for their own health care needs. As a result, everyone comes away inspired by the combined brand power of the Dallas Cowboys and Baylor Scott & White Health, and motivated to improve their own health and fitness.

“Wellness education and inspiration, coupled with a holistic approach to diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, promote the health and well-being of a community,” he said. “The Sports Therapy & Research facility is a shining example of a new kind of architecture that supports the improvement of population health through physical fitness.” 

The Dallas studio of Perkins+Will was established in 1988 and is the largest in the firm, harnessing the expertise of more than 180 architects, interior designers and planners. The office's multi-disciplinary work spans nearly every sector, including health care, higher education, corporate, commercial, civic and K-12 education.

Recently completed projects from the Dallas office include the City of Carrollton’s police headquarters, Fogo de Chao’s new headquarters and flagship restaurant, UT Southwestern Medical Center Radiation Oncology, Fort Worth ISD’s Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School, and Southern Methodist University’s Harold Clark Simmons Hall School of Education.

Convergence: Blending Design Typologies

At the heart of this “new kind of architecture,” Stelmarski explains, is a convergence of health care, science and technology, sports and recreation, workplace, branded environment, urban planning and, to a certain extent, civic design (parts of the complex can be transformed into public gathering places for community events and performances).

4 Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex - Open PerformanceThis melding of design typologies allows Baylor Scott & White Health to offer patients an innovative ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to sports medicine and rehabilitation services, including sports nutrition, sports psychology, orthopedics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, neuropsychology, urgent care, surgery, a brain injury program, cardiology, outpatient imaging, and a pharmacy.

In alignment with the complex’s focus, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, a leader in hydration and nutrition science, is housed on the complex’s second floor. Outside, a network of publicly accessible walk, run, and bike trails keeps the facility well-connected to the community and integrated with the surrounding Star campus. 

“We’re seeing a fascinating trend emerge at the intersection of sports performance and health care design—one that we think could start a sea of change in population health nationwide,” says Don Dethlefs, principal and chair of Perkins+Will’s sports, recreation, and entertainment practice. “In each case, our clients have shared one vision: help entire communities achieve holistic health by improving individuals’ physical fitness.”

Other Perkins+Will projects illustrating this trend include the PPL Center (opened in September 2014); The UCLA Health Training Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers (opened in August 2017); the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Athletic Center (opened in October 2017); the Snyder Center Field House at Phillips Andover Academy (opened in January 2018); the Viking Pavilion at the Peter W. Stott Center at Portland State University (opened in April 2018); and Northwestern University’s Ryan Walter Athletics Center (set to open in August 2018).

Designing a Branded Experience

The Sports Therapy & Research complex includes basketball courts, a fitness and strength training room, and an indoor/outdoor playing field. Powered by Fusionetics, a digital platform that optimizes athletic performance, decrease the risk of injuries, and speeds up recovery, these facilities allow athletes to train and rehabilitate in advanced ways. And with the exception of the locker rooms, pool, and plunge room, these highly visible, prominently placed athletic facilities — surrounded by transparent glass walls and casual seating areas for onlookers—allow the whole process of rehabilitation to be observed.

5 Baylor Scott & White Health Sports Therapy & Research complex - Nutrition and BBall“The transparency helps tell the complex’s story. It showcases the human body in motion, creating a ‘living brand’ experience that celebrates athleticism and physical fitness,” Stelmarski says. “The openness and visual interconnectivity of the spaces lend a soft, human quality to the otherwise hard, data-driven science of sports medicine.”

At the same time, the complex is also designed to invoke a sense of strength, durability, and precision — attributes of the athletes who seek treatment there and the care teams who provide care. This is accomplished through a crisp, clean material palette composed primarily of concrete, modern glass, and metal, and by complementary soothing color tones and abundant natural light.

Unobstructed views and easy access to the outdoors create a feeling of revitalization and rejuvenation. A bevy of two-dimensional geometric shapes made of painted metal suspend from the ceiling of the four-story lobby like confetti, symbolizing fluidity of movement and the legerity of the physically fit body; their organization appears arbitrary at first, but upon closer examination, the disparate shapes visually coalesce to form the Baylor Scott & White Health logo. 

Continued Leadership in Health and Well-Being

The design of the Sports Therapy & Research reflects Perkins+Will’s long-standing commitment to health and well-being—one of the firm’s greatest differentiators. Known best for seminal industry innovations like the Precautionary List, the Transparency website, the resilient building rating system RELi, the development of Portico with Google and the Healthy Building Network, and the adoption Fitwel, Perkins+Will is now on track to define and lead the industry’s next big thing: convergence.

“There’s no question that sports and physical fitness play a critical role in achieving and maintaining optimal holistic health,” Stelmarski says. “To the extent that we’re contributing to the creation of a healthier world by applying our multidisciplinary design skills, we’re grateful to work with clients on these game-changing projects.”