Pumping Energy into Downtown

Amway Center

  • Orlando
  • 2010

CHALLENGE. Rather than a single urban neighborhood, downtown Orlando was split in two by an elevated highway and disconnected nodes of activity. Amway Center was designed to unite these powerful forces and create a vibrant downtown district, flowing with energy. Equally challenging was the building’s design response at each façade – one faced a highway; one faced the downtown core and yet another faced single-family housing.

INNOVATION. With an ultimate capacity of more than 20,000 seats for basketball, the 876,000-square-foot arena responds to its program but also to each façade it faces. The corner of the arena nearest the freeway is marked by a transparent feature tower bathed in color – changing LED lighting celebrates the color and pageantry of sporting and entertainment activities while anchoring the arena as a brilliant and vibrant addition to Church Street. Further city connection is achieved via a 40’ x 60’ LED video feature that addresses downtown from an elevated façade position above the highway. The residential-facing façade is of a scale more respectful of its neighbors. Not only does this concept allow for practical views inside and out of the arena from multiple vantage points, but it also takes advantage of the central Florida climate through a variety of outdoor terrace areas. The arena’s response to technology, premium amenities and fan comforts have aided in Amway Center being hailed as the finest professional arena in the country.

IMPACT. Since opening in 2010, the new Amway Center became both the gem of the NBA and a breath of fresh air for a once-dormant corner of downtown Orlando. As a multipurpose venue hosting not only the Orlando Magic and the 2012 NBA All-Star Game but also the Arena Football League Orlando Predators and countless concerts and family events, the arena has injected an incredible amount of energy into the surrounding neighborhood while serving as a catalyst for the ongoing effort to revitalize the city’s urban core. In fact, just six months after opening, more than 20 new businesses had opened surrounding the arena.

“With great team work and vision, the Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando,” said Alex Martins, President, Orlando Magic. “We are proud of our community’s new home and the imagination used to open North America’s finest facility.”