Alaska Airlines Center

McCool Carlson Green and Hastings+Chivetta

Honorable Mention 2017 Education Design Showcase

Alaska Airlines Center

Honorable MentionProject Information

Facility Use: 4-year Institution
Project Type: New Construction
Category: Sports/Athletic Facilities/Fittness
Location: Anchorage, AK
District/Inst.: University of Alaska Anchorage
Chief Administrator: Chris Turletes, vice chancellor of Facilities
Completion Date: 2015
Gross Area: 196,000 sq. ft.
Site Size: 18 acres
Current Enrollment: 18,000 students
Capacity: 5,000 spectators
Cost per Sq. Ft.: $466.84
Total Cost: $91,500,000

Alaska Airlines CenterThe University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Alaska Airlines Center (AAC) is bold and elegant in its form and development. Its focal point is a graceful arched roof that spans the arena and auxiliary athletic spaces. Supported by long-span bowstring trusses, the unique structure organizes the functional space and defines the facilities’ signature.

The facility is a model public/private partnership integrating campus planning with district-wide concerns. Site planning addressed issues including intersection safety, hospital access, pedestrian safety, and future road extensions. AAC is both pathway and steppingstone, connecting campus to student housing.

Alaska Airlines CenterFocused on creating spectator experiences, the court is recessed into the earth and rising three levels above the main floor. The vertical seating creates an intense and intimate setting, unique for a venue of 5,000 seats. Entry sequences are choreographed to minimize vertical movement and gradually reveal internal spaces.

Inspired by traditional fieldhouses and Alaska’s landscape, the structure integrates site and athletic planning in an iconic format. Views into and out of the facility connect users to the landscape and broader community. The branding strategy, Echo of the Seawolf, creates a visual language for multiple events and use modes. Designed as a 100+-year building, exterior materials of zinc, terracotta and anodized aluminum will age gracefully as the legacy of this community facility evolves.

Judges Comments

Incredibly comprehensive design, from site plan to interior graphics. A successful, inclusive planning process and effective public-private partnership. Quite a beautiful building.

Alaska Airlines CenterArchitect(s):

McCool Carlson Green