Ford Center to Enhance Downtown Evansville
A dramatic downtown transformation has begun for the City of Evansville, Indiana thanks in part to the Ford Center, a 290,000 square foot arena designed by Populous. The facility opened in the heart of downtown on November 9th with a concert by rock legend Bob Seger.
The Ford Center will serve as home court for the University of Evansville Purple Aces men’s and women’s basketball teams. It will also accommodate concerts, exhibitions and shows, and includes a regulation NHL ice sheet along with necessary hockey support spaces.
“This is the kind of first-class building we don’t often get in Evansville,” said Rich Davis of the Evansville Courier Press. “Its architecture, full of glass and steel and stone, will light up Downtown at night and be a source of civic pride.”
The Ford Center’s progressive design will be a cornerstone for continued downtown revitalization. Its sweeping curved forms evoke the unique nature of the horseshoe bend in the Ohio River. The use of native Indiana limestone at the arena’s base creates a visual grounding for the building while also respecting the materiality of Evansville’s civic buildings. Focused use of glass is intended to give frequent views both out of and into the building and is anticipated to become a beacon for the city and its development.
The $127 million arena will seat nearly 10,000 for concerts and basketball games, and 9,200 for hockey. It will also adapt in order to host large meetings and various shows.
“Our hope at Populous is for the Ford Center to enhance downtown Evansville by bringing energy, revenue generation, and most importantly community pride,” said Gabe Braselton, Populous designer. “The new facility will be a vehicle for positively impacting the changing landscape of downtown.”
Recent arena projects for Populous in addition to Ford Center include the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center and Amway Center in Orlando. The firm is currently designing renovations for two Charlotte teams – the Charlotte Bobcats and the Carolina Panthers – and has nearly completed renovations to basketball arenas for the University of South Florida and Georgia Tech.
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