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Friday, April 10, 2009

ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington, United States

Completed ShoWare Center, by LMN Architects, on path to LEED gold certification
The City of Kent, Washington is now home to one of the greenest events centers in the United States. ShoWare Center, a 6,125-seat, 154,000 sq ft multipurpose events center is the new home of the Seattle Thunderbirds WHL hockey team, and will serve as the new Pacific Northwest venue for sports, entertainment, concerts and tradeshows. Designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects, ShoWare Center is targeted to be the first new-construction events center project in the United States to achieve LEED® Gold.

The architect was faced with the challenge of working with a modest budget and a condensed timeline. The project was constructed in 16 months to provide home ice for the Thunderbirds’ 2009 season. The design creatively met these challenges by using cost effective materials in unique ways to make a dynamic and interactive building that respected the city’s budget and maximized the overall entertainment experience.

The building is framed with a linear, white metal panel façade with an angled soffit. Constructed of mirror polished stainless steel, the soffit provides a dramatic building face that reflects the activity and energy of people and vehicles approaching the building. A feature corner of the upper level façade is articulated with operable bi-folding hanger doors, providing exterior views of the plaza and the majestic Mt. Rainier.

Painted green “energy lines” on the ground plane reflect onto the soffit and create a 3-D directional effect, visually leading you to the building entry. Highlighted by LED lights, the “energy lines” direct event-goers towards the seating bowl openings to provide a guided path to all entry points into the event level. Super-sized graphics provide highly visible wayfinding for seating sections and restrooms.

Sustainable elements of ShoWare Center include a variety of water-efficient features that will lead to an estimated 40% savings in water usage, energy smart lighting, heating and cooling systems, including ice-making equipment, which will reduce energy use by 45% over typical standards.

A rainwater collection system will use water obtained from the roof to replenish the existing wetlands adjacent to the site. The parking area is constructed over a layer of gravel, which will hold storm water runoff and provide controlled release of rainwater back into the drainage system.

The design of The ShoWare Center creates an inviting experience that draws you in and engages people to interact with the façade of the building as they take visual notice of their animated surroundings. The city of Kent now has an iconic building to establish its own unique identity as a Pacific Northwest destination.
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