Thearena is the largest event center and indoor gathering space on the universitycampus. Built in the 1980’s at a minimal cost, its purpose was to provide ahome for its emerging basketball program. The building was constructed as abare bones facility with no pre-function space. Recently, the basketballprogram has expanded, dictating the need for a reinvention and expansion of theexisting structure. The original building is composed of a blue metal-clad façadewith white stucco stairs to either side. The design of the expansion includesdemolition of the existing façade and 11,800 sf of new space.
Ourgoal for the addition was to design a pre-function space operating as a lobby,concession space, and multipurpose room to accommodate event gatherings. Moreimportantly, we were interested in designing a new facade that would blur theline between outdoor and indoor event spaces.
Aparking garage to the north provides parking for commuters, residents, andevents. The growing campus is accommodating student housing to the south. A new50,000 sf plaza is designed to accommodate varying scales of pre-ceremonyfunctions. This new outdoor space provides a north/south pedestrian link andallows for large campus gatherings in front of the expansion. The new two-storylobby space includes a glass curtain wall that maintains transparency. Aperforated metal screen in front of the glass curtain wall reduces heat gainand doubles as a dynamic signage structure. The new addition accommodatesprivate suites looking over the basketball court and event space. During games,glass doors raise and fold allowing a seamless environment between the court,the seating, and the new suites, which double as classrooms and meeting roomsduring non-events.
Thebuilding addition and plaza provide a new image for the arena and mark thefacility as a destination on campus.