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Monday, December 14, 2009

Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

Swinging the lead: Day 4

Sprint Arena

You’ll be pleased to hear that I am over the worst of my cold and that I should be returning to work tomorrow. With that in mind here is the last offering from my daughter’s Architectural book and journal collection - my companion during my period of confinement - and it’s another indoor stadium (and yet another HOK Sports project), the Sprint Centre in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

If you’ve watched the movie ‘Field of Dreams’, starring Kevin Costner, you’ll be familiar with the concept of "build it and they will come", which I mention here as it was this very concept that saw the civic leaders of Kansas City bankroll the construction of the Sprint Centre, in the hope of attracting a National Basketball Association (NBA) or National Hockey League (NHL) franchise to the state of Missouri’s largest city.

Confusingly, at least to me when changing planes there on a number of occasions en-route to Arkansas where I lived for four or five months back in the early 80’s, there are two Kansas City’s, one on each side of the Missouri River. The smallest of the two is in the State of Kansas, and the larger one in the State of Missouri, or as Dorothy would say “This isn’t Kansas anymore Toto”. The population of the two is well in excess of two million. But I digress.

Sprint Arena

With seating for 19,000 and at a cost of $276 million the arena opened in October 2007 and while it is yet to attract a major sports franchise the fledgling Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League, an indoor version of American football, did take up residence last year. Assorted college basketball games have also been played under it’s roof and a multitude of musicians and bands have also perfomed there, including Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne, The Police and Coldplay.

One thing that I’ve marvelled at while reading through my daughter’s library is the language used by architects, and their ilk, to describe new buildings, and the blurb that describes the Sprint Centre is no different:

“The elliptical arena is clad in a crystalline glass curtain wall. Interior features include clerestory windows that crown the seating bowl with natural light, alleviating the claustrophobic feel that is typical of large arenas. The primary entrance to the complex is through a low-slung masonry volume that contrasts starkly with the sleek curve of the arena itself. At night, the illuminated interior concourse will reveal the arena's users to the adjacent street in an ever-changing act of street theatre”.

Marvellous. I wish I could write stuff like that.

Sprint Arena

Basically, the exterior of the elliptical arena is clad in 139,932 square feet of insulated glass the upper sections of which allow sunlight into the seating area and arena floor below and also give those on the inside a 360 degree view of the entire downtown Kansas City area. The main entrance to the arena is through a three-storey aluminium clad entry hall which houses, amongst other things, the College Basketball Hall of Fame. The interior concourse is huge, the seating area impressively decked out in brooding black, and the main scoreboard, which hangs above the playing area, and comprises 16 LED screens, deserves a mention too. No excuse for not keeping up with the score.

Pictures from here, here and here.

posted by chevblue at 3:36 pm






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