CHALLENGE. After calling Freedom Hall home for 54 seasons, the University of Louisville began a new era in the fall of 2010 by moving into the KFC Yum! Center located along the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. The 721,762 square foot multi-purpose $238 million facility contains a multitude of amenities that help deliver an unbelievable fan experience.
The design goal of KFC Yum! Center was to respond to its particular urban condition while revealing the activities occurring within. Important connections were considered not only northward to the Ohio River, but also south to the Convention Center and 4th Street Live and east to Slugger Field and the future Whiskey Row development. It was envisioned that careful attention to these community connections, coupled with a prominent site location, would provide the momentum to spawn additional development – results of which are already apparent.
INNOVATION. The city of Louisville and surrounding region has a rich and compelling history of basketball tradition and a bluegrass and bourbon distillery heritage. This history played an important role in building the foundation of the KFC Yum! Center, as the design story is translated throughout the building’s spatial environments into places like the Maker’s Mark Lounge, Burnett’s V Lounge, the Evan Williams Bourbon Bar and the Woodford Reserve Club. A fully integrated approach, resonating from core brand attributes, plays a critical part in shaping the connective visitor experience.
IMPACT. The KFC Yum! Center has revitalized downtown Louisville by attracting noteworthy concerts and events and has stimulated economic development in the area. It highlights the rich Cardinals’ basketball history, embodies the culture of the City of Louisville and the State of Kentucky and is the foundation for the future legacy of Louisville sports, entertainment and growth. The arena captures the energy of Louisville’s art districts, museums, festivals and culture, while providing destinations that appeal to every fan’s experience.