The WWE is putting on their next pay per view, Bragging Rights, at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The venue is near and dear to yours truly as I’ve attended several games there to watch my beloved Penguins. The Civic Arena, as it was originally known, was originally built in 1961 for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. As usual, if you want more about it’s history, head here.
I’ll do a revisit on this building if I attend a game before they implode the oldest venue in the NHL for the new Consol Energy Center which will be completed in August of 2010. It does give me time to make a correction about the architects who build a lot of arenas and stadiums. They were formerly HOK Sport Venue Event but are now called Populous who designed Consol Energy Center. For now, I’ll go off fond memories and a bevy of pictures, something that has been sorely lacking in most of my write ups.
There actually isn’t a large amount to say about the design of the building. As anyone can tell, the main portion of this building is the retracable roof. Because it is supported by a 260 foot arch so there is no internal framing which leaves all views unobstructed inside the arena. The roof still can retract into the 2 panels to each side of the support arch. The design of the roof (and the lower portion even) reminds me of another self supporting dome, the Pantheon in Rome. It also happens to have an opening (the oculus) in it too.
The lower portion of the building takes cues from the Pantheon because it doesn’t mimic it directly. Columns come down at a regular interval which is similar to the ones that support the dome inside the Pantheon. The columns are stripped down which is unlike the decorative Corinthian columns used at the Pantheon. The height of the lower portion limits the design possibilities and makes it pretty utilitarian.
Even though I have a lot of fond memories and the fact that this arena was the first one with a retractable roof, the building itself is pretty plain. I have already started forming opinions on the Consol Energy Center but I’ll wait until it is finalized before review it. At least I still have the bragging rights to say that the defending Stanley Cup Champions play in this building for one last season. – Kevin