Fifth Third Arena Renovation Cincinnati, OH

Architect : Moody Nolan

Project Category : College/University

Total Construction Cost : 85,000,000

Total Gross Square Feet : 257,630

Approximate Cost Per Square Foot : $329.93

How was the facility funded? : Private donations

Project Description:

Thirty years ago, “fan experience” was not the buzz phrase it is today, a fact that challenged designers of the Fifth Third Arena renovation to breathe new life into a decades-old performance venue described by our panelists as “tired,” “worn out” and “dated.

”The renovation, which involved surgically demolishing the building interior while preserving its exterior shell, turned a utilitarian gymnasium box into a 360-degree bowl — one that offers fans state-of-the-art premium seating and gathering options accessible via new, enlarged and interconnected concourses. An updated east facade provides a more welcoming approach to the building, and tasteful branding throughout honors past and current Bearcats, university achievements and corporate sponsorships.

Moreover, the renovation modernized player amenities in the form of reimagined locker, dining, film-review and training spaces.

Noted one judge, “The design team achieved a successful transformation of a significantly challenging renovation. Patrons who were used to an old and tired predecessor are provided a wonderfully new and engaging experience.” Added another, “This is a very creative renovation that transforms a tired and dated facility into a vibrant and transparent expression of contemporary sport.”

“The University of Cincinnati has a reputation for signature architectural design. The utilitarian existing arena could have easily been demolished and replaced in favor of a more modern structure. However, the university and design team took a sustainable approach toward reuse and deserve recognition for a well-executed transformation of the facility.” — William Schenck

“This project is really successful from a fan experience standpoint, with exciting graphics and lots of different offerings.” — Steve Chung