2023 Vitruvian Design Competition
Architect: NBBJ and EOP Architects
Façade Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti
Façade Contractor: Anderson Aluminum
Main Contractor: Messer Construction
As home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, Rupp Arena is engrained in the fabric of college basketball, yet over time it became clear that this outsized legacy did not match the physical state of the facility. The 1970s era arena, among the largest in the country, remained largely unchanged since construction but over the decades became buried behind additions such as a convention center and a large indoor mall. On the inside Rupp’s iconic structure withstood the test of time but on the outside it was no longer an iconic presence in Lexington.
The existing building was an opaque box with an exclusive experience that separated the audience inside from the surrounding community. Renovations for Rupp Arena brought an opportunity to be more open, transparent, and connected to the city, and define a new typology for inclusive sports venues.