Populous designs Acrisure Arena, celebrates opening of newest entertainment destination in Southern California

December 21, 2022

Global design firm Populous and owner Oak View Group celebrated the completion of Southern California’s newest world-class venue, Acrisure Arena, which opened its doors to the Greater Palm Springs public on December 14. The new performance and sports facility will introduce a state-of-the-art music venue to one of the world’s most notable music destinations.

Populous was engaged as architect of record by the arena’s developer, Oak View Group (OVG) — the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industry — to create an indoor music venue for the Greater Palm Springs and Coachella Valley region, providing architectural, interior, branding, and wayfinding design services. The arena also serves as home to the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds, affiliated with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Populous completed the new home of the Kraken, Climate Pledge Arena, last year.

“We approached the design of Acrisure Arena by first immersing ourselves in the local history, landscape, and culture of Palm Springs, one of the nation’s iconic music destinations,” said Robert Norvell, Populous principal and lead architect of Acrisure Arena. “The result is a venue that changes the performance and hockey landscape of the West Coast, simultaneously authentic to its site and leading the industry into the future of entertainment experience.”

Acrisure Arena, with a concert capacity of 11,000, marries an intimate and personalized venue with the infrastructure and technology to serve as an ideal jumping-off destination for artists beginning major tours along the West Coast. It is the first indoor/outdoor hockey arena — unique premium amenities harness the warm, year-round desert climate, giving guests access to outdoor concessions and club balconies with a breathtaking array of views, all while remaining inside the arena’s gates. The arena features several sustainable design elements, working with the landscape’s geographical conditions and leveraging its desert climate.

“Populous is one of the best in the business and that’s why we’ve partnered with them on a number of our other buildings such as UBS Arena and Climate Pledge Arena,” said Tim Leiweke, chairman and CEO, Oak View Group. “Palm Springs is well-known for its signature architecture and its beautiful surrounding mountains, so with Acrisure Arena, designing a building that perfectly fit the landscape, with sustainability in mind, was essential. From unobstructed sightlines and premium eateries to modern artist dressing rooms and sports facilities, Acrisure Arena will be the crown jewel of the entire Coachella Valley.”

Populous conducted an audit of the Palm Desert area, studying local architecture and capturing colors, materials, language, and local design to incorporate into Acrisure Arena, from exterior expression to interior design. The team wanted this space to be a leading sports and entertainment venue, while also fitting seamlessly and authentically into its community. As such, the windswept forms of the exterior reflect the natural vernacular of the desert landscape with palm tree islands as an oasis and respite from the harsh sun.

The arena’s seating bowl is buried in the earth, downsizing its overall height and allowing direct access to the main concourse through a seamless at-grade entry experience. The arena footprint also includes the Berger Foundation Iceplex, the training facility for the Firebirds that is open to community use and events. The Iceplex is home to a 5,000 square-foot training facility, with a 1,500 square-foot players lounge for the AHL team.


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