Bob Thompson and his firm, TVA Architects, have released a new design for the University of Oregon's arena that is more transparent -- arguably making it, to the project's benefit, a little more like Portland's Memorial Colisseum and less like the Rose Garden.
I was a fan of the previous, more boxy design, but this clearly seems to be a step up. There will be a lot more light entering the arena now, especially at the perimeter. A building of this massive scale needs to be transparent, I think, to avoid the common problem of being a closed-off, monolithic presence on the landscape.
One of the new features beside the glassier exerior and more curving form, according to a report in today's Oregonian, will be a wooden seating bowl that harkens back to Duck fans' beloved Mac Court. This would also add some greater natural materiality to TVA's work, which is always very sleek and modern.
Naturally there are still a lot of questions to be answered, from financing for the arena to priorities at the UO given that overall academic performance there is in decline. There may also be further opportunities to integrate the building with its environment. That said, as both a Duck fan and design enthusiast I'm overall very pleased.
Originally I had several other images to show of the arena design, but UO is being silly about releasing them and has pulled TVA's reigns. When the university eases off its paranoia and takes a chill pill, I'll try to post some more.