Taking inspiration from the motion and excitement of hockey, the design for the Newark Arena juxtaposes fixed and fluid forms, emulates the proportions and movement of a skater, and energizes the city with a dynamic and animated façade.
All arenas have three main levels: the event level, the concourse, and the upper concourse. Each level has unique dimensional requirements, but are often forced into a fixed geometry, impairing design flexibility. By disrupting these fixed proportions and allowing each level to act independently of each other, the design for the Newark Arena creates a stratification of the volume and produces an overall mass more compatible with the surrounding architecture.
An analysis of the skating motion inspired the contours of the design. As the body leans out and in while skating, so, too, do the glass walls of each of the building’s layers. This sinuous, undulating façade is set in dialogue with the straight masonry walls of the surrounding context. The spaces created between these two types of surface are constantly varying in shape and use. Linked together, they create “urban rooms” that support and encourage civic interaction.
Newark’s past is represented by many great buildings primarily constructed in stone. Gravity and heaviness expressed this past. KPF’s design expresses Newark’s future through a light and open arena structure. Made possible by modern technology, this physical lightness symbolizes a unique equilibrium of transparency, accessibility, and progress.