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US$192m redevelopment of Atlanta Hawks arena brings 'community indoors'

By Tom Walker    18 Dec 2018
Sports architects HOK were appointed to design the redevelopment

The State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta has fully reopened, following a US$192.5m (€169m, £152m) renovation project which has transformed the 20-year-old indoor venue.

Completed in phases, the redevelopment has been driven by Tony Ressler, owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise, which is the arena's primary tenant.

Ressler acquired the Hawks in 2015 and made upgrading the venue, formerly called Philips Arena, a priority focus in his plans to keep the Hawks in Atlanta.

Sports architects HOK were appointed to create the project – and came up with a concept which has included Atlanta's local culture in the designs.

"When we were selected to design the transformation of State Farm Arena, we undertook a deep exploration of the Atlanta Hawks’ ambitions, the requests of its fans and the culture of the city," said Emily Louchart, senior interior designer, HOK.

"This research, along with the team’s mantra of 'renovation as innovation', fueled the design."

In particular, the designs were heavily influenced by the surrounding BeltLine community.

The BeltLine is an ambitious urban redevelopment project that is connecting many of Atlanta's neighborhoods through the creation of a 22-mile loop of trails and parks.

"As part of our design process, the Hawks took several team members on a tour of the BeltLine so we could experience firsthand the impact of this project and the new community connections it is establishing," Louchart said.

"Inspired by the BeltLine, the team approached the redesign of State Farm Arena with a goal of creating a series of interconnected, diverse social experiences.

"A desire to connect the concourses and provide clear views into the seating bowl influenced every part of the renovation."

With a nod to the BeltLine, the arena's new 360-degree concourses have been redesigned to service as "active hubs" linking a wide variety of seating and social experiences.

The concept of "bringing the community inside the arena" extends to the venue's food and beverage experience. HOK created an innovative market area, including new shops and upgraded concourses, which reflect Atlanta’s diversity and unique food culture.

To further celebrate the spirit of Atlanta, the Hawks have established partnerships with local celebrities and corporations. This approach led to the creation of country music singer Zac Brown’s Social Club, rapper, actor and activist Killer Mike’s SWAG Shop (a barber shop overlooking the court) and local restaurateur Giovanni DiPalma’s Little Italia collection of restaurants.

"These partners played an integral role in the design process, shaping the aesthetic and encouraging the inclusion of creative concepts rarely seen in sports and entertainment venues," Louchart added.

The State Farm Arena  Atlanta  HOK  BeltLine 
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