Rupp Arena Kentucky, Lexington sports center architecture, US Basketball building Master Plan Architect

Rupp Arena, Kentucky : Lexington Building

Basketball Building USA design by Space Group Architects AS

Mar 13, 2012

Rupp Arena Master Plan Completed in Kentucky

Design: Space Group Architects AS, Oslo, Norway

Rupp Arena Lexington Basketball Arena building
image © Space Group Architects / Mir

Rupp Arena Masterplan


SPACE GROUP ARCHITECTS in Oslo, Norway, have in January completed the master plan for Lexington´s Arena, Arts and Entertainment District in Kentucky, USA. The project is led by founding partner Gary Bates (US). Legendary Rupp Arena is the biggest venue made for the sole purpose of basketball in the country.

Rupp Arena Lexington Kentucky

Rupp Arena Lexington Basketball Arena, Kentucky
images © Space Group Architects / Mir

Space Group was selected, over 13 other architectural firms, by a committee of the Arena, Arts and Entertainment District 47-member Task Force, including citizens from across the community and the state. The project includes a vision plan for downtown Lexington and a master plan for 46 acres downtown with Rupp Basketball Arena, new Convention Center, performing arts center, school of the arts, offices, retail and housing.

Development Plan

Downtown Lexington has a unique set of attributes that set it apart from many other cities. Family housing adjacent to the center, diverse commercial offerings outside of the ‘big box’, two universities directly linked to the center, a largely intact ‘Main Street’, potential for growth west to the Distillery district, and a virtual population (equestrian driven) like no other in the world.

The Lexington brand, with its unrivalled basketball epicenter, provides an amazing foundation from which to launch, but it requires the necessary political support and infrastructure to accelerate beyond its present performance. How do we harness and sustain the energy already in place?

The future Lexington will need to be networked, open, creative, flexible, and diverse. Our strategy is broad-based; reclaiming the authentic character of Lexington while supplementing the attributes of the city with programs, event spaces and urban conditions that will attract residents, businesses, students and new talent to Lexington.

The Mirror

Today’s downtown stretches from Thoroughbred Park to Rupp Arena. High, Vine, Main and Short Street define the width, just as they did in 1871. The compact downtown with close proximity to the residential areas is unique for Lexington. To avoid jeopardizing this asset and at the same time accommodate future growth, we envision future development northwest towards the Distillery District. The hypothetical ‘mirroring’ of the footprint of the existing downtown (with Rupp as the axis point) projects a new reading of the city, stretching all the way to the Pepper Warehouse.

Three distinct districts arise from this strategy: The Historic Center, the RAAED, and the Distillery District – a walkable downtown with Rupp Arena as the gravitational point. The Old Tar District and CentrePointe are new central nodes for development within downtown.

Vine Street would finally embrace its CBD (Central Business district) character as a corridor with ‘high speed’ traffic. Its parallel partner, Main Street, would be pedestrian friendly with public program and a ‘slow’ speed. The two streets would meet at the Rupp District and continue to connect to the Distillery District.

As the mirror footprint is tailored to the property boundaries and conditions, the existing and more importantly, new centers, fall squarely within malleable sites – meaning, the plan has a fixed basis in reality. This strategy is real and executable without inflated buyout costs.

The Masterplan

The RAAEDMasterplan is a framework for future development, not a prescribed building plan. Rather than trying to anticipate every need of tomorrow, we plan for the first expected steps, then develop a set of rules to aid the decision making process as future needs arise. The plan shows our hopes for the future of the district, but allows flexibility in its development concerning program recommendations.

If, for example, additional housing is required, the district can accommodate this need. If instead, a business accelerator zone would emerge, or the university would expand in the downtown, this can also become a possibility without compromising the integrity of the master plan. Even still, if the city decides it would like to hold the district’s development after the first phase, the high street lot can continue as the recommended sports park indefinitely. The RAAED master plan is robust enough to contain a multitude of possible scenarios.

Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington
images © Space Group Architects

#Free Rupp!

Rupp Arena presents us with a myriad of opportunities. Should downtown’s epicenter gravitate west in search of a connection to the Distillery District, it will find itself in an extremely desirable position mediating the transition between east and west downtown. More significantly though are the spatial opportunities available within its own confines and underutilized neighboring property. On first impression Rupp appears lost within its surroundings. Considering its place of pride in Lexington’s sporting culture its identity is ill defined. The “Growths” attached to its eastern perimeter are spatially and programmatically dormant while its repose to the West offers little inspiration to the fervent UK Wildcat supporter approaching from the car park beyond. There is significant weight in the argument of liberating Rupp from its flailing “Growths”. Not only would this give it a new identity, but by giving it value as an object in space it becomes a true point of reference for the new downtown precinct.

For both the Convention Center and Rupp Arena to expand and provide for future growth in the process, something’s got to give. By removing the Convention Center and relocating the retail in Lexington Center to Main Street, Rupp Arena will be liberated and become a singular object with a new relationship to Lexington’s downtown.

Once the Arena is liberated, a new urban opportunity is created, as it becomes a true point of reference for the new downtown precinct.

#Free Rupp solidifies the Lexington Brand as the home of one of the preeminent basketball programs in America.

Rupp Arena Lexington Masterplan – Building Information

Location: Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Size: Masterplan area: 46 acres
Program: Rupp Basketball Arena (134,000sf), Convention Center (177,000sf), Multi-Purpose Hall (14,000sf), Retail (141,500sf), Parking (1,238,000sf – 3,820 spaces) Office (134,000sf), Housing (532,500sf) School (220,000sf) Park (500,000sf)

Client: Lexington-Fayette Urban-County Government
Status: Phase 1: Masterplan Concept delivered Jan 2012
Design: Space Group
Team: Space Group: Gary Bates, Fredrik Krogeide, Rebekah Schaberg, Naofumi Namba, José Hernandez, Ingjerd Sandven Kleivan. Inside Outside: Carmen Buitenhuis AKT w
BFMG OMNI Architects: Marc Jacobs

Budget: N/A
Projected Status: Ongoing
Value: N/A
Contract period: Phase 1: Masterplan Concept – Aug 2011 – Jan 2012

Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington Rupp Arena Lexington
images © Space Group Architects

Rupp Arena Lexington image / information from Space Group Architects AS

Space Group Architects AS are based in Oslo, Norway Kentucky Buildings

Space Group

3 Mar 2012

Rupp Arena Masterplan Lexington

Rupp Arena Master Plan Completed in Kentucky

Design: Space Group Architects AS, Oslo, Norway

Basketball arena
image from UK Athletics
Rupp Arena Masterplan Lexington

Location: Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America

Kentucky Buildings

Kentucky Architecture

The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge, One Roebling’s Way, Covington
Studio Daniel Libeskind
The Ascent Covington
photo © Michele Nastasi
The Ascent

Museum Plaza Louisville
Louisville tower
PRNewsFoto/Museum Plaza
Louisville tower : Kentucky’s Largest Ever Public-Private Project – skyscraper

American Stadium Buildings

American Architecture
Smithsonian Institute interior
photo : Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

American Architecture Designs

American Architectural Designs – recent selection from e-architect:

America Architecture News – latest building updates

US Architecture News

American Architects

Stadium Buildings

Comments / photos for the Rupp Arena KentuckyLexington Basketball Building design by Space Group Architects AS United States of America page welcome.