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The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Emory Healthcare have announced plans to partner and build a first-of-its-kind training and sports medicine centre in Brookhaven, Georgia. HOK will be the lead architect for the 90,000sqft, privately-funded facility, which will serve as the team’s official practice site and house its basketball operations.

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FaulknerBrowns to design Sunderland AFC’s Beacon of Light training facility

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One of UK’s top architects has been chosen to create an iconic design for the Beacon of Light. FaulknerBrowns, are based in the northeast of England but have a worldwide reputation for design.

The Beacon of Light will be a vibrant and exciting education and sports facility –  the first of its kind in the UK – and the architectural practice aims to create a building that will both inspire and motivate.

Partner Michael Hall explained:

We are absolutely delighted to be involved in this exciting project. It will not only be a new landmark for the north east but provide an innovative new model for the integration of sport, health and education throughout the UK and Europe.

The location for the proposed Beacon of Light is on a major gateway site next to the Stadium of Light and required an inventive design to maximise the opportunity.

FaulknerBrowns have gained a national and international reputation for the design of complex leisure destinations and developments, which have continually redefined the building type for nearly fifty years. Their buildings are regarded by many people, but sports bodies in particular, as examples of best practice.

Its design approach for the Beacon of Light was to stack the indoor football zone on the roof of the education and training facilities. The lightweight choice of materials for the Beacon also means it can be illuminated at night – making it a Beacon of hope visible across the city.

Hall added:

The shape of the building is a simple but striking cube. On entering the building on the first floor, users will be presented with a busy street along which the various activities within the building will interconnect. Inspirational zones for education, world of work, health and well-being and sport and play will be clearly earmarked and enjoy excellent views into the sports arena.

Former SAFC Chairman and Chair of Trustees of the Foundation of Light, Sir Bob Murray CBE added:

I have no doubt the Beacon of Light will become a building of national importance and international reputation. The building will be leading edge and epitomises the pioneering approach and work of the Foundation.

The Beacon will make a difference by involving, inspiring and educating a generation of young people and their families. It will touch the lives of thousands of people every week and have a far-reaching impact in the region and beyond.

FaulknerBrowns have an eminent name and outstanding track record, so we are delighted to have such a strong a renowned team working with us to deliver our vision and to create something very unique and special in the region.

To read more about the Beacon of Light project, visit:

The PrivateBank secures naming-rights to Chicago Fire’s new dome

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The Chicago Fire MLS club has announced a multi-year partnership with The PrivateBank, which focuses on growing the soccer community in the Chicagoland area.

Chicago Fire’s COO, Atul Khosla, said:

The PrivateBank recognizes the global and local relevance of soccer as it continues its rapid growth in the U.S. We look forward to elevating the game together through programming at The PrivateBank Fire Pitch and throughout the community.

The cornerstone of the partnership is naming rights of The PrivateBank Fire Pitch, the new soccer centre located on the city’s north side that’s providing year-round access to soccer fields. The PrivateBank Fire Pitch, located at 3626 N. Talman Avenue, was created as part of the Club’s larger initiative to recognize and invest in the diverse soccer community and to drive the soccer conversation in Chicago. Once completed, the centre will offer soccer access to more than 250,000 people each year through a host of Club and affiliated soccer and sports programming.

The PrivateBank Fire Pitch features two regulation size turf fields, the first air-supported dome within Chicago’s city limits and is officially open for play. The centre houses the Chicago Fire Rec Soccer League, the leading provider of adult recreational soccer in the city, with more than 5,000 participants. The facility also serves as the home base for the Chicago Fire Juniors City team, a professionally-based youth soccer club that serves more than 250 children aged between 6-18. The club is one of ten clubs in the Chicago Fire Juniors family, touting more than 15,000 participants across six states.

In addition to naming rights at the new facility, The PrivateBank will serve as the Official Bank of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and will be involved in various activities on and off the pitch. Key matchday opportunities include: presenting sponsorship of one Chicago Fire home match, in-stadium signage and activation rights in Fire Fest, the interactive pre-match fan fest. In addition, The PrivateBank will engage with the soccer community through suburban tournaments, First Team Practice in the Community and as a supporting sponsor of the Chicago Fire Foundation’s P.L.A.Y.S. Program (Participate, Learn, Achieve Youth Soccer), which integrates soccer with social and emotional learning to not only help kids learn and enjoy soccer, but also strengthen academic performance.

Larry D. Richman, President and Chief Executive Officer, The PrivateBank, said:

We are excited to partner with the Chicago Fire and to work together to extend soccer’s reach into our communities. We are particularly pleased to support The PrivateBank Fire Pitch as we give the City of Chicago a terrific venue to expand access to this great game.


The majority owner in the project is an entity controlled by Andrew Hauptman, with minority partners Richard Levy and Jared Schenk. In addition to the Fire’s uses, the centre will also serve the surrounding community, providing access to neighbouring schools, universities and recreational sports leagues. The development will include a 15,000sqft building, forecast for mixed-use field management offices, restaurant, retail and training.



England squad train at new RFU facility

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The England Senior Squad trained for the first time at their new 2,700sqm Pennyhill Park facility in Bagshot, Surrey on October 28.

KSS, a leading sports architecture practice specialising in football/soccer stadia and training centres, were approached in 2012 to undertake a feasibility study on the existing hotel site, with practical completion of the project achieved in July 2014.

The indoor training facility includes a 40m x 40m 3G pitch, state-of-the-art gymnasium, changing and sports equipment storage rooms. KSS also designed the interior elements of the new facility. Exterior branding was also applied to the new facility with England Rugby’s emblem of the English rose sitting proudly on the outer façade of the main building.

The RFU have used Pennyhill Park as a base for the Senior England Team Squad since before the triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign in 2003.

The new facility replaces the temporary marquee gym and rugby pitch providing a single, modern and comprehensive centre for enhancing performance. It will be used over the next 12 months for training ahead of the remaining QBE Internationals, the RBS 6 Nations Championship and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Image caption & credit: England’s new gym complex and Desso pitch during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on October 28, 2014, in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)