An 800,000-square-foot multipurpose arena, FedExForum serves as the home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers. It also hosts hockey games, concerts and family-entertainment shows while basking in the glow of the legendary Beale Street music scene, described as the crossroads of American history and popular culture. In fact, the entire arena has been themed around the great sounds born and nurtured in Memphis, including rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz, country and gospel. The exterior features a southern “juke joint” design, while interior spaces reflect diverse musical influences through various themed areas along both the Plaza and Terrace concourses. These include zones highlighting blues, rock ’n’ roll and gospel, as well as a Radio and Recording Zone, a Sun Studio Zone and a Memphis Music Today Zone, which features emerging artists in pop, rock, rap and hip-hop.
With assistance from the Urban Art Commission, FedExForum also features a public art project. Throughout the arena, guests can admire original works by local artists, all of which interpret the music of the region. The theme carries on in the naming of all concessions areas and restaurants. Even rest-room icons feature musical images. Adding further legitimacy to FedExForum’s Memphis music theme is the location on arena grounds of the Smithsonian’s Rock ’n’ Soul Museum.
Project DetailsArchitect: Ellerbe Becket Inc.; Kansas City, Mo.
Associate Architects: Looney Ricks Kiss; Memphis Tenn.
Jackson Person & Associates; Memphis, Tenn.
Self Tucker Architects Inc.; Memphis, Tenn.
Landscape Design: John F. Williams Architects; Memphis, Tenn.
Construction Cost: $162 million
Square Feet: 18,000
Occupancy: September 2004