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An Inside Out Approach to Arena Design

Little Caesars Arena
Detroit, Michigan, USA

“This arena is respectful of this magnificent history and in terms of the fan experience, it is as good as you get in a public facility.”

Gary Bettman
Commissioner, National Hockey League

When they are in use, arenas and stadiums are the most electric spaces in a city.

Yet even the most active of these facilities often lie dormant for days at a time between games and other events. Little Caesars Arena, home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and NBA’s Detroit Pistons, solves this “all-or-nothing” paradox with a deconstructed design that engages the community 365 days a year.

Inside-out approach to space: Key to the design is the “Via,” the arena’s innovative central concourse enclosed by a translucent tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof structure. During the day, the Via serves as a light-filled, temperature-controlled public space shared by restaurants and shops that open to both the street and the arena’s interior. At night, light and energy generated from activity inside the Via project outward onto the community, drawing new visitors to the space.

Connecting to a revitalized Detroit: Little Caesars Arena anchors The District Detroit, a 50-block area of commercial, entertainment and residential buildings that connect downtown and midtown into one contiguous, walkable area. The arena’s design contributes to the density and energy of the district with restaurants, shops and commercial workspaces (including Google’s Detroit offices) housed within its brick-and-glass perimeter spaces. An outdoor events plaza flanked by a large LED video board provides additional use beyond the arena’s walls.

Heightened energy, intimate views: The steep, below-grade seating bowl embraces the iconic qualities of historic arenas, with improved sight lines and dense “walls” of people energizing the event and giving fans the best views. An array of diverse premium seating offerings, including gondola suites suspended from the roof, complement this intimacy.


LEED Silver Certification


819,000 sq. ft. / 76,090 sq. m. 
Seats: 18,500


Facility Programming
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Master Planning
Sustainable Design


Sports Business Awards – Sports Facility of the Year


Number of seats 


Sq. ft. of office and retail space in The District Detroit


11 June 2018
“Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena Named Sports Facility of the Year”

4 January 2018
“Hospitality-Infused Stadium and Arena Interiors Elevate the Fan Experience”
I+D Magazine

5 October 2017
“NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Raves About Little Caesars Arena”