The Architecture of Wrestling: GCU Arena for @ImpactWrestling’s Bound For Glory

TNA and Impact Wrestling are holding their annual extravaganza known as Bound For Glory is being held in Phoenix, Arizona at Grand Canyon University Arena. I was going to review another building in Phoenix but after taking a look at the building, I realized GCU Arena was worth reviewing. The only problem that is presented that much like last review of an arena I did (if I find the link, I’ll update the article) for TNA, they’ve found a new arena on a small campus so there aren’t any pictures of it. I’ve found several renderings of it from 360 Architecture who designed it. The firm is based out of Kansas City.MO, just like Populous who also does a lot of stadium work. 360 has designed a number of arenas including Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, the Sprint Center in Kansas City (which almost became the home of the KC Penguins) and Huntington Park here in Columbus, which gives me an excuse to review it now. The firm Architekton helped which is no surprise since they are based in Tempe, AZ. They likely did the supervision work and helped to navigate the code book in Arizona. Codes usually come from one main source but municipalities adopt a certain version and usually modify them so conforming to them can get tricky.

The GCU Arena seats about 5,000 so it will be a good venue for TNA.  They have done a great job of identifying these types of venues. The WWE is having a hard time packing in enough people to the NHL/NBA approved arenas so there’s no chance in hell TNA is going to fill one even for their version of Wrestlemania. I always enjoy the shows on the road for TNA so that’s a large positive for this big show.

Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier

As for the building itself, a coworker pointed out that it resembles Villa Savoye which was designed by Le Corbusier. The main form could be viewed as such but the proportions, color and function are much different. The form is strongly horizontal with the dark blue structure framing an all glass entry and concourse. Considering that the university’s colors are purple, black and white, I’m not sure why the trim wasn’t one of these colors. White would have reflected the sun more and hearkened back to Savoye even more. 360 continued the similarity by using reinforced concrete columns to hold up the dark blue structure and create a walk way a portico (or porch) that mimics the drive way, garage and entry area for Savoye. Both buildings are only two stories but there is obviously a change in scale because of their functions as an arena and family home respectively. The arena does have only 42 steps to get to the upper concourse so it isn’t a hike like many of the larger arenas.

Though I haven’t seen a set of plans, I would think that the beige structure at the top of the building is a roof screen that hides all of the exhaust piping for the kitchen equipment and restrooms along with hiding the HVAC units that cool the building. Without the additional information, it is hard to put more analysis into this arena. It’s a nice looking arena though. -Kevin

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