California Forum

February 9, 2014

The Conversation: Responses to the new downtown arena

Last Sunday’s Conversation asked for readers’ opinion of the latest design drawings of the planned downtown arena from the Sacramento Kings and their architects.

Last Sunday’s Conversation asked for readers’ opinion of the latest design drawings of the planned downtown arena from the Sacramento Kings and their architects. We asked:

What do you think? Is this design reflective of Sacramento? Will it pull people and businesses downtown? Are there changes to the look, design or layout of the project that you think will help it achieve its redevelopment task?


Arena design wows

Re “Arena design: A king’s crown or crushed can” (Page A1 and Forum; Feb. 2): The “love it/hate it” reactions to the arena proposal are exactly what a cutting-edge design should invoke.

Otherwise it would be too boring for words. Art, including architecture, should inspire strong feelings and initiate conversations. The glass pyramid I.M. Pei designed for the Louvre in Paris created a huge uproar when it was proposed. Closer to home, when plans were unveiled for the new addition to the Crocker Art Museum, they drew raves and jeers.

Today, both structures have been accepted as iconic additions to their respective cities.

My opinion of the arena design? Wow. Let’s seize this opportunity to create something truly spectacular. I hope city officials hang in there and resist any pressure to dumb down the design to a safe, conventional structure that could exist anywhere.

– Marsha Holmes, Elk Grove

Design needs reworking

The new arena design has too many sharp, hard edges and the structure appears standoffish to the surrounding urban ecosystem. I expected a more feminine structure with curved lines and a more organic feel.

Recent Olympic venues are good examples of this style. A Google image search will provide many examples. In our capital city, there are enough hard edges and straight lines – literally and figuratively.

Those of us who are not sports fans will need a more inspiring and imaginative design to get on board with this project. Art can add immense value to a community, but this design falls short.

– John M. Rivett, West Sacramento

Turn arena around

One of the major benefits of locating the proposed arena at the Downtown Plaza site was to help revitalize K Street.

With that in mind, I am surprised that the current plan shows the main entrance at the Northwest corner of the arena, facing away from K Street. This is like putting the front door of your house facing the backyard. Not very welcoming.

I recommend changing the orientation of the entrance to face down K Street, which would provide a spectacular visual all the way down K Street to the Convention Center, and would serve as the crowning jewel of a new, revitalized restaurant and entertainment district.

– Chuck Robuck, Newcastle

Give us brick and wood

Sterility, that’s what we get architecturally, as reflected in the new addition to the Crocker Museum and now the design for the new Kings arena. All the open viewing of the Kings arena is fine, but how about some brick and some wood, something like a castle, something natural.

– William J. Hughes, Sacramento

‘Squat, rotund monstrosity’

The pictured design of the downtown arena looks like the cut-off bottom half of a paper lantern. How does this squat, rotund monstrosity reflect Sacramento?

– Donna Reed, Davis

Grand view? Hardly

The assertion by Rob Rothblatt, head of the design team, that the arena design offers a grand view, likening it to Half Dome with its reach-for-the-sky profile, reminds me of Lloyd Bentsen’s comment to Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate, “Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy”.

I’ve been to Half Dome. It indeed offers a grand view and is an inspiration to many. Sir, this arena design is no Half Dome.

– Linda Carpenter, Sacramento

Welcome to the circus

Sacramento tries so hard to be hip and sophisticated. But the rooftop lighting design proposed for the downtown stadium is right out of Barnum and Bailey.

– Richard Sickert, Sacramento

Crushed can it is

I vote “crushed can” and with all the grace, style and charm that suggests.

– Ma Figueroa, Sacramento

‘World-class bad’ design

It’s absolutely horrible, a very juvenile design that will be plagued with many problems. The new arena design will look out of place and be another world-class bad decision of Sacramento. Please, will an adult finally speak up in this town and speak the truth?

– Phillip Barkowsky, Folsom

‘Laughable, and a little sad’

One more voice, if I may, to add to the chorus of those who find the design of the proposed Kings arena to be laughable. Laughable, and a little sad. Sad because such a design – totally enamored of tech – has become all too predictable nowadays. Sad, too, when thinking what the passage of time will do to a building that wears its fragility on its sleeve. No, better than this, I contend, would be to construct an arena that, for all its technological marvels (for of course we must have them), would present to the city a facade that paid homage to the centuries. I’m talking carved marble here. Now that would be daring. That would be pushing the envelope.

– Scott M. Taylor, Elk Grove


Ernest Paul Wong – It’s a crown, and I can’t wait for it to be built. No more driving to the Bay Area for quality entertainment. People will come to our downtown and spend their money here. This project is going to revitalize our downtown and bring a lot of businesses.

Janice Teruko Temple – Picture the roof looking like a swimming pool or part of the sky with stars. Maybe some purple colors for the Kings. It needs more versatility if it’s going to be used for more than sports.

Dave Adams – It looks cold. I can imagine some interesting wind patterns developing around it too.

Scott Pringle – Love it!

John Cooper – I like it. It’ll be a catalyst for redevelopment on J and K streets.

Ronald Eric Loutzenhiser – Very excited for the project and progress it brings to Sacramento. Exterior design is OK, but the advancements in arena design (openness, connectivity, sight lines, etc.) will be awesome. Can’t wait for it to get built to shut up those narrow-minded folks who can’t accept progress. This will be great for Sac.

Jay Spooner – Any time I bring visitors into midtown from the airport I am utterly embarrassed at the blight and disrepair of block after block of J Street. Having been told for years now that “nothing can be done,” I see light at the end of the tunnel. The entertainment sports complex will be a catalyst for growth in and around the site for decades. I am so looking forward to seeing games, concerts, political events, NCAA sports and on and on at the arena and can’t wait to bring people in to town in a few years.

Janie Gilgert-Seese – Don’t like. It will ruin downtown.

Romer Cristobal – This new Sacramento arena will most likely be the best in the entire state because of its design and energy efficiency. It will bring business to downtown and the region, employ hundreds of thousands of people, will attract not only basketball games, but also major concerts. Some backwards people think it’s only for basketball; they are dead wrong. Just like the current arena, it’s also for other venues. It’s a win-win for Sacramento that will bring revenues to the entire region.

Jacqueline Naud – I like it. I like the design, and I love the functionality. I can see the setting sun reflecting on the exterior. I particularly like the amphitheater design at the entrance. I wonder if those who don’t like it also don’t like the other distinctive buildings in Sacramento such as the “Darth Vader” building and the “Ban Roll On” building.

Joe Genshlea – Squashed beer can.

James Battles – Beautiful design that will be a catalyst for development for years.

Doug Kester – I think it looks like a ladies makeup compact. Get Compaq computers to buy naming rights!

Linda Schoeffler – A crushed can ... and who is going to see those pretty purple flashing lights? It’s a disaster ... and not representative of our area at all ... boo!

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