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12 July 2016

Sports Illustrated Highlights HOK-Designed New Little Caesars Arena in Detroit

Detroit Little Caesars Arena_Credit HOK 2

Sports Illustrated interviews George Heinlein, regional director of HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice, and Ryan Gedney, senior project designer, about how design establishes Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena as one of the most intimate arenas in the NHL.

“A wall of red-clad Detroit Red Wings fans, filling an oversized lower bowl with a steep rake designed to put them on top of the ice, will help bring the noise to Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena, which is set to open in September of 2017.”

“While Detroit’s current Joe Louis Arena has about 40 percent of its seats in its lower bowl, Little Caesars ups the ante, with about 10,500 of its total of 19,600 in that location. ‘It will be one of the most intimate arenas in the NHL, if not the most intimate,’ Heinlein says. ‘(The Red Wings) have coined it the baddest bowl in the NHL.’ But it isn’t just a trend-bending sunken bowl design that enables this downtown arena to provide special views for hockey fans in Detroit. There’s also gondola seating over the ice that offers a unique perspective on the game.”

“HOK designed the arena 37 feet into the ground, which serves to eliminate the massive protruding downtown structure and keep the building’s profile—at only 100 feet tall—more in line with the surrounding neighborhood. It also allowed the Red Wings to build a practice rink and training center at ice level. In all there will be about 24,000 square feet of training space, player lounges and video rooms.”

“’There was a strong desire to preserve what (the Red Wings) believe is special about old hockey venues with intimacy and tight, loud environments, but doing it in a way that infuses a lot of modern goals of diversified revenue streams in terms of premium seating,’ Ryan Gedney, an HOK sports designer, tells SI.com. ‘We had to get creative.’”

Sports Illustrated