Xavier University Practice Gym Improvements

Cincinnati, Ohio

In 2013, Xavier University hired MSA Architects to reinvigorate their brand image in the Cintas Center practice gym. A space where the men’s and women’€™s basketball teams, and women’s volleyball teams spend much of their time training, the gym needed to be visually brightened and acoustically altered for both athlete and spectator comfort. To accomplish this, the MSA design team and Xavier University identified four key goals: improve acoustics for daily use and comfort, reinforce and highlight Xavier’€™s Athletic brand, inspire student athletes to go above and beyond; and convey an invigorating image to enhance recruitment opportunities.

To achieve each of these key goals, the 35’€™ tall cinderblock walls surrounding the gym were painted floor to ceiling with the new, darker Xavier Athletics blue, while the fourth wall uses the Xavier Athletics light gray to brighten the space and reflect the natural light from the windows on the opposing wall. A thick, horizontal band of contrasting color wraps the three walls, guiding the eye around the gym and highlighting branded elements. To minimize noise pollution, MSA worked with an acoustical consultant to seamlessly align the panels with the graphic treatments for minimal visual obstruction.

The northeast corner of the gym features an oversized painted “X” logo that is designed to minimize the sloping ceiling line while the north and south walls feature dimensional branded elements, including the Xavier athletics logo, Xavier Musketeers lettering, and inspirational words reflecting the values of Xavier’s Athletics program. The west wall is designed to receive a custom recognition installation for the Athletics Department and student athletes. The design features strips of finished, basketball court flooring with vinyl lettering, traveling up the entire height of the wall. The concept features a dense overlay at the center of the wall revealing hints of the Xavier “X”, while the edges are spaced more sporadically. This renovated space provides a brand equity and level of professionalism that not only inspires the occupants, but serves as a great recruitment tool for incoming student athletes.