Populous turns World’s Fair pavilion in Seattle into Climate Pledge Arena


Photovoltaics and a rainwater harvesting system can be seen in a hockey stadium in Seattle, designed by the architecture firm Populous and named after Amazon’s Climate Pledge initiative.

Located near downtown, the Climate Pledge Arena is in the Seattle Center – a 30-acre cultural and entertainment district that was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair. This is where the city’s iconic Space Needle is located.

Exterior view of the Climate Pledge Arena in front of the Seattle skylineThe Climate Pledge Arena was designed by Populous and is located in Seattle

The project included a major overhaul and expansion of an existing arena – the Washington State Pavilion, later known as the KeyArena, designed by noted architect Paul Thiry and built for the World’s Fair.

The revitalized stadium, which opened in October, is home to the National Hockey League’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, along with the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team.

Interior view of the Climate Pledge Arena function roomThe stadium will be used for concerts and major events including sports

The venue with 17,000 seats is also used for concerts and other major events. The seven story facility covers 740,000 square feet (68,748 square meters).

Populous was commissioned by the city of Seattle and developer Oak View Group to design the stadium.

Amazon acquired the naming rights and chose to name the arena after the retailer’s Climate Pledge initiative calling on companies to be net-zero carbon-free by 2040.

Interior view of the Climate Pledge Arena function room in action The stadium has a number of sustainable elements

While a large part of the project involved new buildings, some parts of the original building had to be preserved due to the monument status. The team had to preserve the building’s glazed façade and its hyperbolic-parabolic roof, which is made of standing seam metal and a concrete ring beam.

“For the new build, the 44 million pound roof had to be hung over the site while the new arena was built underneath,” the team said.

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The original facility was about half the size of the new arena. In order to increase the number of square meters, the team was expanded downwards. Much of the seat shell is actually underground.

The special features of the newly designed arena include a 61-meter-long living wall and two digital display boards that are hung above the ice rink.

Each floor has a specific color, ranging from light blue on the top level to a muted orange in the main hall. The suite and dining area were designed by the New York Rockwell Group and are made from earthy materials such as oak.

An elevator was placed next to a large screen The stadium extends over seven levels

Architect Jason McLennan, founder of the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute, served as sustainability advisor for the project, and the arena exhibits a number of sustainable characteristics.

The electricity is provided by an on- and off-site solar system, along with energy obtained from other renewable sources. Water conservation measures include ice from collected rainwater that is stored in a 15,000 gallon cistern.

The location has charging stations for electric vehicles and a bicycle service. In addition, stadium visitors will be offered free public transport rides.

Corridors in the Climate Pledge Arena have green walls Populous green throughout the interior of the stadium

Improving pedestrian access to the arena was a key concern of the team. The new facility is again surrounded by a large plaza that provides year-round green space on the Seattle Center campus.

The outside landscape also includes 67 leafy London plane trees that were planted for the 1962 World’s Fair and are considered landmarks.

“These trees will add a massive canopy to the site, help with carbon capture, and connect the surrounding neighborhoods to the sprawling Seattle Center campus,” the team said.

Interior view of a corridor in the Climate Pledge ArenaThe building is powered by a photovoltaic system

Populous has designed numerous sports facilities around the world, including the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida with a 15,400-ton steel shade roof and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, which has a retractable field that can host both Premier League football matches American football.

The photography is from Populous and Climate Pledge Arena.