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Populous reveal renderings for revamp of Seattle arena in Space Needle's shadow

By Kim Megson    28 Feb 2018
The renderings show an intimate 17,000-capacity seating bowl used for National Hockey League fixtures / OVG

Seattle’s former Key Arena is to undergo a US$600m (€491.7m, £435m) renovation courtesy of architects Populous, in a bid to reposition the facility as the premier sports and entertainment destination in the US northwest.

Development firm Oak View Group (OVG) has released renderings illustrating its plans for the venue, which is situated in the Seattle Centre next to the Space Needle. Populous will retain the building’s landmark Paul Thiry-designed roof but “design a brand new spectator experience within”, including an intimate 17,000-capacity seating bowl used for National Hockey League and National Basketball Association fixtures. “State-of-the-art” video displays will be suspended from the ceiling at either end of the playing surface.

OVG wants to enable a stronger connection between the arena and the surrounding Seattle community. To achieve this, the design team have proposed several transparent elements, including a 360ft-long transparent atrium that blurs inside and outside experiences.

“This addition is all about a transparent lens through which you can view the historic arena,” said Geoff Cheong, architect and associate principal at Populous. “You can kind of see it celebrated and awash with light. It offers a contemporary and definitely transformed arrival experience and an amazing first impression.”

Other plans include a pedestrian plaza at the south end of the site and a Space Needle Club offering panoramic views on the upper level – one of several new interior additions planned by the design team.

When it debuts in 2020, the facility is set to be named the Arena at Seattle Center. The wider 300,000sq m entertainment complex was the site of the 1962 World's Fair and the Century 21 Exposition.

The Key Arena was originally opened in 1962. Tenants have includes roller derby side the Rat City Rollergirls and Women's National Basketball Association franchise the Seattle Storm.

Populous will retain the building’s landmark Paul Thiry-designed roof / OVG
The design team have proposed several transparent elements, including a 360ft-long transparent atrium / OVG
When it debuts in 2020, the facility is set to be named the Arena at Seattle Center. / OVG
Populous  Seattle  Key Arena  Space Needle  Seattle Center 
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