Working within the constraints of a historic Bebb and Gould master plan for the Lakeside School, the new Paul G. Allen Athletic Center blends classic campus traditions into a modern idiom of flexibility and social connectivity. The project boosts the school to a new level of athletic competitiveness, enhancing functionality for athletes while providing a community hub for spectators and the campus at large.
The Paul G. Allen Athletics Center replaces an existing athletics facility dating to the original campus construction in 1930. The new building sits within the same footprint and height profile as the old, but nearly doubles the interior volume by excavating below the site. The gymnasium floor drops 11 feet from grade to meet NCAA regulation ceiling height, and all program spaces are much enlarged, including the field house, locker rooms, mat room, training room, team room, and classrooms. A new high-capacity equipment storage system supports the increase in athletics offerings.
Steep, irregular grades characterize the site, challenging LMN to develop an organic circulation pattern between the campus athletic fields at the upper level, and parking/street access at the lower. The design solution resolves this condition with a glass-enclosed, rectangular circulation bar, unifying all program elements through shared views, daylight, and an open stair.
Opportunities for additional expressions of campus community and identity emerge from this essential organizing principle. The upper level of the circulation bar includes a window wall and balcony looking down onto the gymnasium—complementing the bleacher seating with a social vantage point, which also takes in a view of Lakeside’s iconic clock tower. Other impromptu spaces—such as benches and landings finished with repurposed wood floor planks from the original gym—encourage a culture of peer interaction, mentorship with coaches, and continuity of the school’s athletic legacy.