That’s fitting, as the Ellerbe Becket firm states, “…the new FedEx Forum is located near historic Beale Street in the heart of one of America’s liveliest entertainment districts.”
According to Jon Niemuth, “The design of the New Memphis Arena is envisioned as a timeline, a blending of old and new traditions in a way that allows each to remain true to their respective roots while collectively forming a vision for the future. This idea is not new to our times, or the city of Memphis, a place whose own evolution is as rich and diverse as history itself.”
So, it is also fitting that one of the materials selected for the exterior is a contemporary material that can be designed and fabricated for compatibility with traditional elements.
Among the materials selected for exterior cladding was Alucobond Material in panels of 4mm thickness. The project required approximately 98,000 sq. ft. of Alucobond Material, which was fabricated into 3,800 panels. Colors selected for the building included four different colors of red for the main body of the building, as well as a color of Forum Silver near the top of the building, and Memphis Bronze color for column and beam wraps. Thanks to a unique computer program, the four red colors of Alucobond Material were randomly assigned to the body of the building during the design phase. John W. McDougall Co., Inc. of Nashville, was the distributor, fabricator, and installer of Alucobond Material for this project, using the Series 400 rainscreen system. The Alucobond Material relates to the traditional use of brick on many Memphis buildings, both old and new.
According to Ellerbe Becket, “As the home of the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, the arena seats 18,200 spectators on five levels for basketball. With a variety of seating layouts and an integrated ice floor, it will also host events ranging from concerts and hockey to exhibitions, family shows, rodeos and indoor motorsports. FedEx Forum is designed to provide outstanding guest comfort, excellent sightlines and acoustics, and seating flexibility for the wide range of potential events.”
Related parts of the project include a 1,500-vehicle parking garage, a four-story office building and the Smithsonian Institution’s Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. The connection to Memphis music is evident in the themed areas of the concourses and a public art project with original art that interprets the area’s music. Additional entertainment areas outside and 35,000 sq. ft. of exterior plaza further enhance the appeal of the facility.
Among others involved in the “integrated team” approach to the project were Looney Ricks Kiss (architecture) and MA Mortenson (construction).