Las Vegas is unlike any other city in America. A popular destination for concertgoers, poker players, and bachelor parties alike, the sheer scale of entertainment and attraction is unparalleled, especially along the Vegas Strip. This hub of culture arises from a desolate desert and is silhouetted by a majestic expanse of mountain ranges, strengthening the city’s mystique and allure. For architects and construction companies, erecting a new building in Vegas that can stand out from the crowd based upon its own merit is a momentous undertaking – one that held true for the new T-Mobile Arena. Luckily, AEG and MGM Resorts International, the design teams responsible for constructing the joint venture entertainment complex, were prepared to make a mark.
Led by the architecture team from Populous, designs for a cutting-edge $375-million indoor arena began in 2014. Designed with ambitions to one day host professional hockey and welcome more than 100 annual events, final plans for T-Mobile Arena called for a 650,000 square-foot structure situated on a 16-acre site, featuring 20,000 seats, 44 luxury suites, four expansive balconies - including one designed specifically for performances - an 85 foot tall glass atrium, and more. This is the largest arena Las Vegas has ever built, yet the most ambitious feature of the project is the exterior.
“It was our mission from the start to bring the opposing aspects of Las Vegas, the Strip and the Desert, to a nexus point in the exterior design of T-Mobile Arena,” said Robert Norvell, associate principal architect at Populous. “This goal heavily dictated how we planned the construction process, and which building materials we finally decided upon.”
To combine these dual inspirational aspects into one cohesive concept, Populous designed a sprawling glass façade on the arena’s northeast side composed of 9,000 square-feet of L.E.D video mesh overlay that interlace with the exterior balconies and culminate in a symbolic representation of the city’s lively energy and zest. To honor the rustic topography and rich geological aesthetic of the surrounding mountainous environment, bowed bands spring forth from the north and west faces of the arena. The bands are made of more than 100,000 square feet of custom-fabricated metal shingles by A.R.J., Inc. that were gilded with Vaslpar’s Fluropon Classic II coating in nine rustic colors. The whole wall system is backed by CENTRIA’s MetalWrap Long Span Series insulated composite backup panels, which are visible on the interior. MetalWrap serves as a complete wall system including the moisture protection and thermal insulation.
The combination of CENTRIA product and the custom-fabricated metal shingles from Crown Corr provide a visually captivating and highly functional outer shell to the T-Mobile Arena.
The design elements’ dichotomy creates an iconic exterior that honors the contrast between city life and nature, and would not have been possible without the fierce color matching process provided by Valspar. After extensive planning with architects, Valspar was tasked with color-matching shades from initial concept images. This process constituted the development of three primary shades to compose the metal bands, subdivided into three different hues for an added textured effect. After several rounds of formulation, nine total coating colors were customized from three main shades of Valspar’s Fluropon Classic II - Flaxen Gold, Titan Gold, and Chestnut.
“Valspar was able to achieve a fantastic grouping of colors for the final application that everybody loved,” said Norvell. “It’s incredibly hard to formulate the subtle color change that we were targeting, and not only are the coatings visually pleasing, but they’re also extremely functional and will maintain that richness of color.”
A Shiny Future
Valspar’s Fluropon coating is a staple in the industry, formulated to stand up to harsh weather conditions, and maintain resistance against chalking, fading and ultraviolet rays. Developed using intense pigments to achieve vivid colors, Fluropon coatings are known for maintaining vibrant colors. The nine Fluropon coatings used deliver a visually dynamic exterior for T-Mobile Arena while also providing many additional durability features that will keep the structure’s splendor shining well into the future.
“The T-Mobile Arena façade and overall exterior turned out to be exactly what our vision was from the outset,” said Dan Quinn, General Manager of T-Mobile Arena. “Our colleagues at Valspar did a sensational job with the exterior coating for the venue and we look forward to working with them on future projects.”
The completed T-Mobile Arena officially opened its doors on April 6, 2016 and ushered in a new wave of entertainment to Las Vegas with a sold-out show featuring The Killers, Wayne Newton and Shamir. Thanks in part to Valspar, the new venue’s exterior exudes the same iconic flair and natural grace as the surrounding city and landscape. In July 2016, the National Hockey League announced its decision to award Las Vegas, and the new arena, with an expansion team for the 2017-18 season based upon tremendous local support and appreciation for the state-of-the-art facility.
Coatings provider: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis, Minn.
Metal panel manufacturer: CENTRIA; Moon Township, Pa.
General contractor: Hunt Construction Group; Phoenix, Ariz.
Project Manager: Icon Venue Group; Greenwood Village, Colo.
Architect: Populous; Kansas City, Mo.
Metal panel fabricator/installer: Crown Corr; Gary, Ind.