Senior architect, principal

Kurt Amundsen knows arena design. In a 33-year architectural career he has seen and created countless arena projects, but he understands that each one offers a unique challenge, a challenge worth conquering for the good of the community. 

“The impact that this building type has on communities is really profound,” he said. “They are by nature a very complicated building type. The uniqueness of the building type keeps me interested from project to project.” 

Amundsen designed NHL arenas in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas and has turned his attention to remaking the Seattle Center Arena — which he calls “the most technically challenging project I have been a part of” by building a new arena under a 20,000-ton roof with historical landmark status — a new American Hockey League arena in Palm Springs, Calif., and a ground-up build of Belmont Park Arena for the New York Islanders. (Oak View Group, owner of VenuesNow, is involved in all three of those projects.)

“There are fundamentals of arena design that are pretty constant when it comes to (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations, sightlines or the bones of the building, but beyond that every project is generally very unique, and in the next one we are always looking for the next big idea stemming from fan experience or revenue generation.” 

As technology continues to drive design through ticket delivery, merchandise, and food and beverage, Amundsen said, esports and in-venue gaming — “we are being contacted by past, present and future clients wanting to explore how they can create gaming opportunities in their existing facilities,” he said — provide the next two big waves of opportunity for arena design. 

From projects of old to reimagining the new, Amundsen said each has powerful significance. “They are all so impactful to the communities in which they exist,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be a part of all of them.”