The redesigned soffit extending from Pauley Pavilion's perimeter wall serves a number of purposes. It masks the catwalks and trusses above it with a hard surface that redirects crowd noise toward the UCLA basketball court, and it provides a fascia for the facility's first-ever ribbon boards.

Just as important, its scalloped shape, graded coloring and effect lighting create a welcoming atmosphere for fans located in the seating bowl's upper reaches. "Oftentimes, you see the seats that are in the rafters kind of bleed off into the darkness, and it's a disengaging experience to sit way up there," says Robert Mankin, the partner in charge of sports design for architecture firm NBBJ. "But here, you actually have a brightly colored wall and ceiling around you, and you have some interesting lighting up there. It's a really powerful feature when you walk into the bowl. It works from a visual standpoint and also from a sound-amplification standpoint."

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.