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New Kings arena reaches halfway on construction timeline

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Construction on a new Kings arena has reached the halfway point, as Sacramento fans can now get a pretty good idea of what to expect from their new NBA facility, slated to open in the 2016-2017 season.

The arena design from AECOM has always been pitched as aggressively modern, but that’s being tempered with a leaf design — “Million Trees” panels that will cover the aluminum panels and provide a softer look to the facility. While it does use a lot of exterior glass as well — about a quarter of the surface will be specially constructed glass designed to repel sunlight — the thought is that the “Million Trees” panels will bring a unique look to the new Kings arena. Backlighting will also bring a different look to the arena at night.

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From the Sacramento Bee:

Arena chief architect Rob Rothblatt is effusive about what is emerging. “Sacramento is going to get something unique,” he said. It isn’t dressed up in its final “prime-time finery,” he said, but “I go to the site now and it looks pretty exciting.”

The arena’s colonnaded walls angle in and out rhythmically, giving a feeling of movement, he said. The base of the building has not yet been built. When done, though, it will be covered by what the Kings call a “living wall” of climbing plants, literally rooting the building in the earth.

The structure’s unique overall shape already has invited clever descriptions. Rothblatt has suggested it looks like a Scotch glass. He’s also said its vertical lift depicts the Sierra Nevada. Other local architects are watching the project with interest. One suggested it looks like the Kings’ crown. Another, less impressed, called it a crushed soda can.

As noted, the $509-million arena is scheduled to open for the 2016-2017 NBA season, replacing Sleep Train Arena in Natomas as home of the Kings.

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