'A diamond in the desert': Populous principal explains design for new Vegas arena

For their latest project – a 20,000-capacity indoor multipurpose arena – global architects Populous had to “out-Vegas Las Vegas.”

That’s the view of studio principal Kurt Amundsen, who has talked in detail about the creation of the high-profile T-Mobile Arena, which opens to the public in the US city on Wednesday (6 April).

The US$375m (€329.5m, £263m) venue will become the region's largest indoor sports and entertainment venue and has been earmarked as the possible future home of teams in the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association. It will also host awards ceremonies and music shows, with Nevada band The Killers booked to perform on opening night.

“Las Vegas, the city of bright lights and the entertainment capital of the world, can be a challenging place to stand out,” said Amundsen. “We pulled our design inspiration from all aspects of the city, not just the strip, to really capture the spirit of Las Vegas as a whole.”

The arena – located between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts west of the Las Vegas Strip – is “an authentic diamond in the desert” inspired by the Spring Mountains and the region’s canyons, “but with the flash and glamour of the strip.”

The evolving light and energy of the location inspired a 9,000sq ft (836sq m) LED video mesh overlay that covers the glass facade around the circular structure. An expansive elevated outdoor stage and a 1,000-capacity balcony with a view of the strip also brings a lively atmosphere to the arena’s exterior areas.

This theme, which Amundsen called “the cool factor”, is echoed inside the arena, where seating for spectators and VIPs is integrated in innovative ways.

“In a first for arena design, two tower clubs offer event floor-view balconies and seats near the top of the bowl,” he said. “Connecting the clubs is the Hyde Lounge, an area giving visitors a view of the event floor on one side, and a scenic view out of the glass facade on the other.

“The goal was to capture the ‘see and be seen’ aspects of exclusive Las Vegas clubs and make it available for anyone to experience.”

The arena has been designed in partnership with project manager ICON Venue Group. The privately-funded project is a joint venture by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and MGM Resorts International (MGM).

Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of AEG, said: “Just like the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, London’s The O2, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and others in the AEG Facilities portfolio, this new arena in Las Vegas is destined to be one of the most recognisable, respected and iconic venues in our industry.

“There will be offerings to appeal to the widest audience; from casino operators and their guests to international travellers and local residents, this will be world-class in every sense.”

Populous  Las Vegas  T-Mobile Arena  US  architecture  design  arena design  Nevada 
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For their latest project – a 20,000-capacity indoor multipurpose arena – global architects Populous had to “out-Vegas Las Vegas.” That’s the view of studio principal Kurt Amundsen, who has talked in detail about the creation of the high-profile T-Mobile Arena, which opens to the public in the US city on Wednesday (6 April). The US$375m (€329.5m, £263m) venue will become the region's largest indoor sports and entertainment venue and has
The venue is inspired by the Spring Mountains and the Las Vegas canyons, 'but with the flash and glamour of the strip' / Populous
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