LEXINGTON, KY – Today, Mayor of Lexington Jim Gray announced award-winning architecture firm NBBJ, in collaboration with Lexington-based EOP, will design the new Rupp Arena and Lexington Convention Center projects.
Named after legendary University of Kentucky Men’s basketball coach Adolf Rupp, Rupp Arena has been home to University of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball for 40 years and is considered to be hallowed ground in collegiate basketball. The revamped Rupp Arena will feature expanded concourse spaces; a completely revitalized bowl with chair-back seats throughout; a new hospitality level with premium suite seating; a new center hung-scoreboard; and a host of other amenities that will preserve the authenticity of the original arena while providing a fresh experience for fans and team personnel.
“The reimagining of Rupp Arena and the Lexington Convention Center must be approached as one project,” said NBBJ Partner Robert Mankin. “Together they will become the commercial, sports, and entertainment destination that transforms Lexington. We are honored to work with the City of Lexington on this defining project.”
The overall seat count of 23,500 will remain after the renovation. In the next four months, the City of Lexington and the University of Kentucky will work with NBBJ to finalize the design concept, with groundbreaking scheduled for the fall of 2014. Once the project is underway, a phased construction schedule will allow the Wildcats to play basketball at Rupp during renovations.
Meantime, the renovation and expansion of Lexington Center will add approximately 100,000 square feet to the facility by doubling space for exhibitions, while adding a new ballroom and meeting room spaces. The design will eliminate existing inefficiencies that make it difficult for Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center to hold separate events at the same time. In both projects, the design seeks to create a more dynamic and transparent connection between the events taking place inside and the City of Lexington.
The project will be led by NBBJ’s team of veteran sports and convention center architects, including Robert Mankin , Jonathan Ward and Tim Lambert, who will be joined by NBBJ urban planner and Harvard professor Alex Krieger. The NBBJ team will partner with Lexington-based EOP Architects and world-renowned convention center architect Don Grinberg, FAIA.
Most recently NBBJ led the renovation and expansion of Pauley Pavilion at UCLA. Opening last season, the project was nominated for Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal, sharing the stage with Barclay’s Center and Marlin’s Park. The firm’s sports portfolio also includes Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium in Hangzhou, China. In addition to its sports projects, NBBJ is making headlines for designing headquarter projects for Google, Samsung, Amazon.com and Tencent.