Described by DFDG Architecture Principal in Charge and Project Designer Mike Schmitt as the “Malibu of Phoenix,” the Arcadia District is an affluent area of Phoenix, situated at the base of iconic Camelback Mountain. It is also home to the 5G Performance Center, practice facility for the NBA Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury. Its location is intentional, as many of the teams’ athletes live in the Arcadia District or adjacent Paradise Valley. The Suns and Mercury ownership wanted the new facility to become a second home to the athletes and a place to train, dine, recreate, and bond as a team. Among NBA teams, the Suns are known for their strong team chemistry, and this facility might just be part of the secret sauce for that success.
The privately funded center, occupied in 2020, includes amenities one expects in a pro team training facility, and then some: two impressive NBA-regulation basketball courts, the organization’s offices, locker rooms, weight rooms, and rehabilitation areas. But its second story is dedicated to socializing, with a gourmet kitchen, dining room, swimming pools, lounge areas, and an outdoor terrace − spaces that encourage players to enjoy each other’s company in the shadow of Camelback Mountain.
The gray-toned, metal-skinned building has a clean, sleek look and “horizontal strength,” says Schmitt. The contemporary, high-tech building also strengthens the organization’s ability to recruit athletes, coaches, and staff. The innovative services it offers athletes, along with its architecture, underscore the forward-looking organization that the Suns’ owner is creating. “In many ways,” says Schmitt, “the building is the visible symbol of the team brand.” The Rama area lights
surrounding the building were selected for the modern, clean aesthetic they share with the facility. “The lights’ understated design blends with the facility and landscape; they aren’t a distraction but a complement,” says Schmitt. “This is forward-looking architecture with forward-looking lighting.”