Toscano Family Ice Forum Carries UConn Athletics Branding Into Red Seating Ring

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Upon approach, visitors to the University of Connecticut’s Toscano Family Ice Forum are greeted by a stunning geometric facade featuring a massive curtainwall. Once inside the home of Husky hockey, a simple visual move packs a punch every bit as big. Designers at JCJ Architecture opted to incorporate a single row of red seating — the only row that completely encircles the otherwise blue 2,600-seat arena bowl. According to JCJ principal and chief architectural officer Jim LaPosta, red as a fourth “school color” (with navy, gray and white) is the exclusive domain of UConn athletics. “Athletics uses red, and they use it in a very sparing way, often outlining Jonathan the Husky and other things,” LaPosta says. “You won’t find a whole lot of red on campus outside of the athletic facilities.” (Gampel Pavilion, home of the two-time defending national champion UConn men’s basketball team, has similar seat coloring.) Hussey Seating Company manufactured not only Toscano’s different-colored chairback seats, but also the color-coordinated bleachers in a student section at one end of the arena that continue the red seating ring. “We just thought it was appropriate to do that on two levels — one to relate to the kind of thin red line you see in a lot of their branding, and two, to kind of pay homage to Gampel Pavilion, a pretty important building at UConn,” LaPosta says. “Lastly, as we were doing the renderings of the building, it was just a lot of blue seats — a big sea of blue, and it was kind of boring. This added a little architectural interest when the building isn’t full of fans, which is a lot of the time, because the building is intended as a training facility for the D-I men and women as much as it is a game venue. This just adds a kind of spark, a little highlight in the seating bowl.”

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