ShoWare Center

The multifunction ShoWare Center, located just outside of Seattle, seats 6,100 fans during hockey games and ice shows, and 7,800 people during concerts. The ShoWare Center lettering above the main entrance is actually a reflection of a sign that is installed horizontally below the soffit. While mirrored surfaces tend to be associated with luxe environments--casinos, discos, and boutiques--at the ShoWare Center, the polished stainless steel soffit was an efficient way to amplify the lobby and façade.

The ShoWare Center's lettering above the main entrance is a reflection of the sign installed horizontally below the soffit.

LMN Architects took cues from its experience in theater design when programming the center, using lighting and supergraphics to choreograph the visitors' experience from the highway approach all the way through to reaching their seat for the game.

The second-floor cladding is composed of white 22 gauge metal panels. Staggering the panels, some of which are slightly recessed, adds texture to the surface. The swell of the roof—supported inside by massive steel trusses—is clad in a similar material with smaller-scale horizontal metal ribs.

The windows that penetrate the metal siding over the entrance belong to the club lounge. Located at the southwest corner, the lounge has expansive windows that offer a view of Mount Rainier. Natural light from the windows reaches into the bowl, but during events, shutters made from airplane hangar doors block the light. Also on this second level are VIP suites, crucial to the ShoWare Center’s financial model, that run the length of the ice sheet on either side.

The vivid green lines that start in the parking lot continue through the lobby and the gates to the different sections of the hockey arena. The industrial space—with polished concrete floors and black-painted cinder block walls—is enlivened by supergraphics. Large green numbers mark each door, and large white stylized figures indicate the restrooms.

The ice sheet in the arena is used for the Thunderbirds’ home games. In the off-season, it can be used for traveling shows such as the Ice Capades. Also, the ice sheet can be covered to turn the space into a concert venue. During those events, the capacity increases by 1,700 seats.

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