While walking down Witherspoon Street not too long ago, I was taking a few photos of the dramatic contour of the roof of the new arena. From this particular vantage point east of the arena, the structure is fully visible.
Then it hit me, the arena isn’t a toaster or an all-in-one printer-copier-fax as some have jabbed in the past. From this angle, it doesn’t even look all that much like its twin in Liverpool.
It appears to be, in fact, a whale.
Just check out the sinuous curving roofline. What was supposed to evoke the flowing waters of the Ohio River rushing over the falls has turned out to be a beached porpoise, corralled inland by I-64. It’s even got its own blowhole, pictured below. Those condensing units, in the right situation, will be emitting vapor into the air.
Is this analogy a little too harsh? Iconic forms are always going to bring secondary images to mind. For more info on the ideas of iconic architecture, check out this interview with architect Charles Jencks or the blog Eikongraphia which documents iconic architecture from around the world.
What do you see when you look at the arena? Do you like the design?