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Edmonton arena design: light, airy, open

Edmonton Oilers arena concept{jathumbnail off}

A future Edmonton Oilers (NHL) arena would feature a light and airy design, with plenty of places to grab a brew and watch a game, according to concept sketches released by ICON Venue Group.

The renderings, presented to the Edmonton City Council this week, envision an arena with an open concourse, plenty of windows, fewer suites than the average arena and more casual seating areas, with bars and bistros lining the rink. This isn’t a new concept in the arena world — Amway Center was designed along the same lines, and the remodeling of Madison Square Garden has a touch of the same flair.

Edmonton Arena Concept

The renderings prepared by ICON aren’t close to an actual design — the architects will determine that down the road — but they do present a roadmap as to what the arena-management firm thinks is important in monetizing the facility. A market like Edmonton probably can’t absorb a large number of suites, but there are enough passionate fans with enough income to want an upscale experience at the arena. And there are plenty of passionate fans of more limited means who would love to see the arena basically as one big beer bar. The hockey purists would have their seats and amenities as well.

Edmonton Arena Concept

One concept we find intriguing: a “media ring” high atop the arena. There’s one in the works for Madison Square Garden, and we’re seeing it pitched for Edmonton. Basically, it’s a catwalk near the upper reaches of the arena designed for casual fans to hang out and watch the action from an interesting angle. If designed right, it won’t impact the views from higher-level seats, but it will monetize a far-off part of the arena and provide yet another surface for signage. It’s the sort of concept that could be applied to other newer arenas; we’d love to see a media ring at Xcel Energy Center.

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