From its practice court daylighting to a coach's office encased in glass, the Ruane Friar Development Center's design is all about transparency and openness — reflecting a desire to celebrate Providence College's basketball program like never before.
This is immediately evident when approaching the main entrance, which uses a massive curtain wall to showcase the Friar logo inside, suspended in three-dimensional form some 12 feet from the lobby ceiling. By tucking such bold gestures into the building interior, the glass-heavy exterior facade remains largely uncluttered while still clearly projecting the Providence brand. Upon entering, visitors realize in an instant they are now in Friartown. "Branding is really an important part of the way people think about things. It's also how they make connections to things. If it's given a little bit of special treatment, you would hope people are a little more respectful," says Nick Leahy, Perkins Eastman's principal in charge of the project. "It sounds kind of corny, but really it was about the experience of entering a space, about entering hallowed ground. It's nicer than sticking something on the glass. It has a sculptural quality, suspended from the ceiling. It's hovering. It's omnipresent in this space you've entered. It's cool."
This article originally appeared in the July | August 2020 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Transparency allows for subtle exterior branding." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.