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Designing Facility Entryways

An arena's elegant entryway is visually and structurally effective.

Photo of the entryway to the Inner Mongolia Arena in the Chinese province of HohhutPhoto of the entryway to the Inner Mongolia Arena in the Chinese province of Hohhut

Building entries serve a number of purposes. Some are exceedingly simple - keep rain off the heads of waiting patrons - while others are seemingly at cross-purposes. For example, the entry should ideally announce to visitors, visually, where the door to the facility is. At the same time, however, the entry should be welcoming, not heavy and imposing.

At the Inner Mongolia Arena in the northern Chinese province of Hohhut, the glass and steel entry canopy serves all of these purposes. In a light, elegant and visually dynamic concept developed jointly by Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs Architects and Beijing-based ZO Architecture, the steel supports are tapered to give the impression of floating overhead, while the frameless glass cover integrates seamlessly into the canted glass facade. Directional signage mounted below the fascia lends a more unified appearance and, in another blink-and-you-miss-it detail, drainage is sloped back toward a concealed gutter along the building to avoid a drip edge above visitors.

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