NBA Academy Africa - Big Top Fabric StructuresWhen NBA Academy Africa, in partnership with the SEED Project, needed a sports facility to train young players and find the next professional basketball superstar, they knew to turn to Big Top Fabric Structures. We designed and built a first-class sports facility – the first of its kind in Africa – where young athletes receive high-quality education and NBA-level training to become the next generation of leaders.

The SEED Project – Developing Young African Leaders Through Sports & Education

The SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development) is a non-profit organization based in Senegal that uses basketball as a way to teach young Africans valuable life and vocational skills to prepare for a successful future, and the results have been stunning – 92 percent of SEED students secure a job or matriculate to university upon graduating from the program. Perhaps its most well-known success story is that of Gorgui Dieng, a Senegalese athlete who went on to secure a multi-million dollar contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

How We Custom-Designed a State-of-the-Art Sports Facility

When Big Top was first approached about this project, we were beyond excited to step up to the challenge of designing not just an enclosed basketball court, but an entire training facility. The versatile nature of our fabric structures allowed us to meet this challenge. For instance, we included the following in the design:

  • Repurposed shipping containers – By anchoring the building to shipping containers, we were able to provide an economical alternative to pouring a concrete foundation. The shipping containers were then repurposed into locker rooms, bathrooms, a weight room, educational centers, conference rooms, and dormitories, saving on costs that would have been needed to build out each of these rooms separately.
  • Ventilation package – Thanks to the thermal-reflective nature of our buildings, the interior of the facility maintains a comfortable temperature that is on average 15 degrees cooler than the hot Senegalese climate outside. For added climate control, we included exhaust fans and motorized louvre vents in the design, ensuring a cool training environment free of expensive HVAC systems.
  • Translucent roof – The fabric roof of NBA Academy Africa’s training facility floods the interior with natural light, eliminating the need for artificial lighting and the energy expenses that come with it.

A Bright Future for Africa’s Youth

SEED Project - Big Top Fabric StructuresAt Big Top, we couldn’t be more proud of our involvement with this project. The state-of-the-art sports training and educational facility that we designed and built for NBA Academy Africa and the SEED Project will be a haven for Africa’s youths for years to come, providing a place for students to further their education, athleticism, and life skills to better their future. As Amadou Gallo Fall, vice president of NBA Africa, said, “This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches and our world-class academic staff.”

If you’d like to learn more about our custom fabric structures, contact Big Top today. We have had numerous success stories just like this since our founding in 1979.

Fabric Shelter Golf CourseSometimes when new golf courses are built, the clubhouse is the last piece of infrastructure to be constructed. This was the case for a golf management company in South Florida that needed a shelter to protect their equipment. When left out in the elements for long periods of time, the rubber, plastics, and electronics of golf carts can deteriorate under the hot sun. As a solution, this golf company made the right choice by turning to Big Top.

Our consultants visited the site of the new golf course and met with executives to precisely measure the area where they needed a shelter to house their golf carts. From there, we were able to customize a fabric structure to meet their needs. The final shelter measured 40’ x 80’, with a height of 16’. We included a 14’ x 14’ access door for easy entry and exit of golf carts, and a personnel door on each end panel for staff members.

Not only is their new tension structure large enough to accommodate their entire fleet of golf carts, but it also provides ample protection from the sun thanks to the fabric roof, which blocks 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-V radiation, prolonging the lifespan of the golf carts and minimizing any necessary maintenance.

When this South Florida golf course needed a shelter solution, Big Top stepped up. We’re confident that we can do the same for you. If you need a protective fabric structure, contact us today and we’ll be glad to discuss how we can build one to meet your needs.

West High School Gym was Destroyed

In 2013, an explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas. At least fifteen people were lost, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. One of the casualties of the explosion was the gymnasium at West High School. FEMA and the West Independent District School Board employed Huckabee Architects on August 8, 2013 to find a way to have a new gymnasium functional before the start of the school year on August 27, 2013.

Big Top Responds Quickly

Thankfully, Huckabee found Big Top. Ramping up production, Big Top built an 80’ x 100’ fully insulated and lit structure that was 36’ tall in just 2 weeks. The project was finalized 3 days prior to its due date and West High school had an operational gym ready for the school year.

FedExField Is All About The Fans

FedExField, home to the Washington Redskins traditionally used A-frame lightweight structures for their extensive exterior hospitality services. After only a few years of wear, it became readily apparent that the structures were not durable enough to withstand either the wind or snow loads during the winter months in Maryland. The VIP areas needed cover suited to their patrons.

Big Top Plays Ball

They contacted Big Top and started with two custom colored structures – one stretching 120’ and the other 180’. They now have a total of nine VIP structures dotting the exterior landscape of FedExField. The Big Top fabric structures are kept up year-round and have exceeded expectations. Their VIP’s dine and socialize in the befitting covered indoor/outdoor areas.



The Lancaster Jethawks are the Class A minor league affiliate for Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros. Part of the excitement of attending a Jethawks game is the wide array of events that take place in and around the stadium. Festivals, parties and other activities are regular occurrences. However, without a suitable venue that would hold up in adverse weather conditions, future events and festivities were in serious jeopardy. The Jethawks needed an industrial strength structure that was also aesthetically pleasing. With the new season rapidly approaching, it was a race against the clock.


The Jethawks made the right call by investing in a Big Top fabric structure. It was erected in plenty of time for the season opener, and exceeded all of their needs and expectations. They no longer had to worry about adverse weather conditions affecting events, and with so many custom lighting as well as heating and cooling options, they were prepared for any sort of event, any time of year.
Now the Jethawks are back to not only winning baseball games, but entertaining thousands of people each year in the safety and security of a great-looking Big Top fabric structure.