Few facets of a renovation project carry more first-impression potential than the building's facade,
and few facades have undergone a greater transformation than that of Fifth Third Arena. Yet, as different as the University of Cincinnati's basketball and convocation center appears today, much of its original '80s-era precast concrete exterior remains. Instead of the shell's grid pattern shrouding recessed interior space, a new upper-level concourse bursts through four of the grid's openings in the form of cantilevered window boxes of varying depths, creating patron lounge areas with views to a reimagined entry plaza and beyond. "They protrude at different dimensions, so from the one that sticks out the most you can see all the way down past other buildings to the heart of the campus," says Sara Boyer, associate principal and project architect at Moody Nolan, which collaborated with Populous on the renovation. "This further brings the people in the building out to campus, and if you're standing out on campus, you want to see what's going on inside the building." Boyer adds that more than 95 percent of structural walls, flooring and roofing was preserved, earning the project three LEED credits. "We had to capture space, and to build space we had to save dollars elsewhere. So, it was both the architecture and the economy in it. It all just seemed to make sense."
This article originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Cantilevered Facade Windows Expand Space, Views" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.