The sprawling Nike World Headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon, is only getting bigger. The athletic titan recently unveiled the Serena Williams Building, an ambitious facility dedicated to the tennis great that continues the brand’s tradition of naming new buildings after sports legends. (LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Sebastian Coe have all received the honor.) The new building unites the brand’s various design teams within a single cohesive environment that clocks in at one million square feet—roughly the size of 140 tennis courts—and affords them the ability to oversee all stages of product development, from initial sketches through retailing, all under one roof.
“This is a completely new era, a next generation,” John Hoke, Nike’s chief design officer, tells Wallpaper. “We haven’t been assembled as a design team in nearly three decades, so to put that concentration and energy back on one floor, all discipline, all product types, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. We’re trying to build a world-class product and creative center, and we wanted to have a profound experience for employees that really sparks curiosity and imagination.”
Designed by the Portland-based firm Skylab, the building also required some deft architectural maneuvers to respect the campus’s sustainability commitments and achieve LEED-Platinum certification. For example, the firm moved a nearby service road underground so the building could enjoy a 360-degree presence. It now flows seamlessly into surrounding wetlands through an indoor-outdoor cafeteria. Rooftop photovoltaics, meanwhile, supply the building with solar energy while also obscuring unsightly rooftop mechanical systems. Williams even shared design input—white roses, one of her favorite flowers, are planted throughout interior plazas.
The Serena Williams Building is the latest in a string of ambitious architectural pursuits for Nike, which unveiled the LeBron James Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art sports research lab designed by Olson Kundig, in late 2021. It can also be seen as a return to form—around that same time, Nike renamed the Alberto Salazar Building following the disgraced coach’s lifetime ban from track and long-distance running due to sexual and emotional misconduct allegations. Salazar became the third individual within a decade to have their name stripped from a Nike campus building after the brand renamed the Joe Paterno Child Development Center and the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center.