As a hub for tourism, Virginia Beach is a lively summer destination, with its miles of coastal beaches, hotels, and recreational activities. With summer tourism as a pivotal arm in its economic machine, the city has long explored opportunities to increase off-season appeal and traffic. The new Virginia Beach Sports Center is an exciting addition to the city’s culture and is one that will positively impact off-season tourism by putting the region on the map for travel, youth, NCAA, and professional sports. This multi-sport complex will house basketball and volleyball courts, meeting spaces, unique seating for 5,000 spectators, gourmet concessions, and be equipped with a state-of-the-art hydraulic indoor track.
The sports center is the result of a collaborative partnership between the City of Virginia Beach, Clark Nexsen, Hanbury, and MEB General Contractors. Owned by the City of Virginia Beach and operated by Eastern Sports Management, this $68 million facility boasts an impressive list of amenities for traveling teams, athletes, and spectators. A major design component is the 200-meter indoor hydraulically banked track. This track is the first of its kind in the country, featuring the largest banked angle of any indoor track in the United States. The facility also has 12 hardwood basketball courts that convert into 24 volleyball courts, dedicated athlete locker and bathrooms, and restroom and changing facilities for officials. Additionally, the complex has a designated space with swing restrooms and special doping control rooms that meet NCAA and professional athletic regulations. Overlooking the sporting areas are versatile meeting and flex spaces usable for meetings, gatherings, and press. These spaces are also available to be rented out by the public for parties or private events.
Located less than a mile from the oceanfront, the Virginia Beach Sports Center reimagines what is possible for a sports complex from both an architectural and functional perspective. Comprised of pre-engineered metal on the exterior, the facility features CTI daylighting panels intermixed with massive vertical strips of glazing, bringing diffused light into the lobby and public spaces. This alternating of materials gives a strong visual flow. Transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary of what would otherwise just be a large metal structure, the facility presents a sleek architectural language and character. For branding and aesthetics, the top of the structure features a bold sunrise orange overhang along the outside of the main entrance. Reminiscent of a Virginia Beach sunrise, this specially crafted shade is both regionally appropriate and unique to the center. From the outside, the window and metal panel exterior design in conjunction with impressive indoor lighting allow for substantial views into the facility, even from the street.
The interior of the complex features a simple color palette, with gleaming hardwood on the courts and lightly polished concrete floors throughout the trafficked areas. The exposed beams and varying wall sections are painted with complementary accent and brand colors. Much of the interior is glass to allow for views throughout the courts, meeting rooms, and press boxes. This openness allows for and encourages visitors to “set up camp” with their friends, families, and teams.
Above: Rendering courtesy of Hanbury