New Bucks arena to be covered with rust, what is it with the rust already?

They’re not nearly as batshit as yesterday’s Washington NFL renderings — not to mention they’re for a building that is actually getting built in an actual location — but the Milwaukee Bucks have released renderings of their new $500 million arena being built with $505 million in public subsidies:

b99688823z.1_20160316221937_000_gnketctn.1-0b99688823z.1_20160316221937_000_gnketctq.1-0b99688823z.1_20160316221937_000_gnketctr.1-0That outer shell that supposedly looks like a “wave” (if waves were brown, which I don’t really want to think too hard about) is going to be made up of “zinc panels chemically treated to achieve a gritty, brown-rust patina,” which is a different kind of intentional rust color than the weathered steel used on the Brooklyn Nets arena, but promises to be just as ugly. (Name one attractive rust-brown building you’ve seen. I’ll wait.)

The inner seating bowl is somewhat more promising, though the cheap seats in those tiny upper decks separated by two decks of luxury suites are going to royally suck; and while the large lower deck will be nice for anyone who can afford to sit there, forcing everyone to enter and exit at the back of the section is going to make for some epic foot traffic jams at the end of games.

As usual, though, the real fun part is nitpicking the little details that the architects probably added at 1 am when they didn’t know how to fill out a blank space on their drawings. Like, what’s up with that strange balcony projecting off the front of the building, the better for drunken fans to throw their beers/themselves down onto passersby? And how much did those people pay to stand in those weirdly backlit sections in the upper-deck corners, and why? Who are those two opposing players near midcourt supposed to be guarding? What exactly is Greg Monroe doing in that replay (?) on the video board? Why does anyone think Greg Monroe will still be on the Bucks when the new arena opens in 2018? Play along yourself in comments!

24 comments on “New Bucks arena to be covered with rust, what is it with the rust already?

  1. Do the Bucks really use ‘Fear the Deer’? Deers are not scary unless you’re a leaf on a shrub. An elk or mouse would be a different story.

  2. Given that the Bucks haven’t been an NBA finalist for over 40 years, the “Fear the Deer” motto seems a bit, er, overstated.

    That said, I do hope the Bucks new arenaa will maintain their “alternate court” which features “logos and color palette stripped down to keep the focus squarely on the team.” I guess that’s a good thing.

  3. Also it appears that the population of Milwaukee is one of clones that have few wardrobe options. ;-)

  4. Noted the surprising Lack of street traffic just prior to tip-off.

    Those weird back-lit upper deck boxes remind me of the after-thought literal luxury “boxes” at Gonzaga’s gym. e.g. “There is space, let’s roll in some PODs here.”

    For Neil…a local attempt at beauty in rust. The home of Santa Clara County gov’t. A monolith of rust.

    Other than that, I can’t complain too much about this. Nice to see something other than a toilet seat.

  5. To see the “Own the Future” sign you should really need to have on the special glasses:

  6. I always liked the way the old Omni coliseum in Atlanta looked. The problem with the rust look of the Omni was that it never stopped rusting, and there was no choice but to replace it.

    Maybe that’s what the Bucks are going for. In fifteen years, they can say that the rust has irreparably damaged the building – give us money for another arena!

  7. @Mike ATL

    Yeah, the OMNI was a problem because of Atlanta’s hot and humid summers. That’s one thing Milwaukee won’t have to worry about.


    Good thing it’s cold in Milwaukee so not too many drunks will jump off that ledge but in all seriousness, I agree about the upper deck. Funny thing is, it’s only one stack of suites but on top of that open area between the top of the lower bowl and bottom of the suites. I have no idea why these new arenas are so hell bent on that. Glendale’s hockey arena has it, Sacramento’s new arena will have it and now Milwaukee. All they are doing is just pushing the bad seats into worse seats in the upper bowl. Concourses are for walking BACK to your seat so you can actually watch the game, not for watching the game while walking around.

    It also reminds me of how bad the upper bowl in Sacramento will be. They are on top of 2 suites as well as the aforementioned open area.

  8. Those aren’t suites on the first level on the right? I assumed that was glass, but maybe it’s artisanal pulled-pork smoke, hard to tell at this resolution.

    The main thing I’ve noticed about open concourses is that for all that you’re supposed to be able to see the game from them while buying artisanal pulled pork, you usually can’t because of 1) the rake of the seats below and 2) all the people standing drinking beer at the front of the concourse. It seems like a really engineering-intensive way to trade off what would be a bunch more decent seats in front of the concourse for extra standing room.

  9. @Neil

    It does look like suites on the right but everything I’ve read is that the open area wraps entirely around the lower bowl. I guess we’ll find out in 2018.

  10. Will the AHL team play here? Or will they have to cut more public university funds to build them an arena too?

  11. The only way the Bucks will sell all those upper deck seats is if the Chicago Bulls to get a lot better.

  12. The AHL team is moving back to the old MECCA:

  13. Thanks, I should have just looked it up myself. To show my appreciation, I will re-up my supporter contribution.

  14. I too thought about building rusting out in 15 to 20 years.

    Are the Bucks that bad, that with a new building the people are staying home? Where are all the fans? There are a lot of empty seats.

    And FEAR THE DEER. EWver see a car when they hit one?

  15. I think it is time for a “Vaportecture: Now vs. Then” retrospective that puts past examples of these alongside how the project really turned out.

  16. Do people ever watch the games in these fabulous new arenas or do they just mill around outside and on the concourse?

  17. I can think of two architectural must-haves for the “weirdly back-lit” sections in the upper deck.

    1) They are a new “fan engagement” item. The louder the fans cheer the higher those platforms get. If they reach the top of the rafters, each lucky fan on the platform gets a beer or, if under-aged, a stuffed deer. If the fans stop cheering, the platform drops.

    2) Think Logan’s Run. These people are ascending to the heights of fandom into a new light. They will be with other fans who have passed in previous arenas soon.

    The real question is how do they get down? It looks like the only way to leave that raised section is to go outside (enter the light!). Not much chose for food/drinks either.


  18. I realized after I posted that the “strange balcony” is the exit for the “weirdly back-lit” upper deck sections. Hopefully the signage really does reflect those names when the arena opens.


    P.S. and I really do know how to spell “choice”.

  19. The balcony shown in the outside rendering and possibly the escape for the upper deck corners is a “high energy club”. I have to agree with Neil that it will be a problem having all those people enter/exit from “up”. Is this some weird psychological thing where walking past a lot of people with worse seats to get to yours is supposed to be some pay-off. This seating arrangement is common in most theaters and is often annoying there in a much smaller scale.

  20. Or maybe they’re saying that if your seats suck, at least you don’t have to walk as far as the people with good seats do.

  21. So the then owner of the Admirals donates a crapload of money for a new arena, and now that the city and state decided it’s obsolete less than 30 years later the Admirals wind up back in the 66 year old arena they left in 1987?

    Makes perfect sense.