LA Clippers begin construction of long-awaited $1.8-billion arena

By Jenny LescohierSeptember 22, 2021

LA Clippers drumline performs during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Intuit Dome. The arena, scheduled to open in 2024, will serve as the home of the LA Clippers and the team’s practice facility and team offices. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time coming, but ground has been broken on Intuit Dome, the new home for the LA Clippers.

AECOM previously announced it is lead designer of the iconic new arena and event venue in Inglewood, California. In addition, a joint venture of AECOM Hunt and Turner Construction is serving as construction manager of the facility.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion together with the Clippers, Intuit Dome and all of our project and community partners,” said Troy Rudd, AECOM’s chief executive.

“Over the last few years, our expert team of industry-leading architects, engineers, construction management professionals, and sports specialists have been hard at work perfecting and planning for this moment.

“This world-class facility truly reflects the ambitious vision of Clippers’ leadership, energy of the community, and intense passion of the amazing fans. We can’t wait to bring it to life and see it in action.”

Intuit Dome is designed for optimal and intimate engagement of community and fans, with a visually dynamic and structurally efficient silhouette. It will be defined by a steel frame with diagrid geometry, inspired by the elegant form of a basketball net as a ball passes through it.

Reports said the $1.8-billion facility that will hold 18,000 people will embrace both enhanced environmental performance and fan experience, taking advantage of the Southern California climate through an indoor-outdoor approach that allows for a naturally ventilated entrance and upper concourse. A solar-optimized building shell will balance natural light and solar heat gain.

“It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with Steve Ballmer, Dennis Wong, and the LA Clippers leadership team from project origin to this exciting milestone,” said Bill Hanway, lead of AECOM’s sports design practice. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of working with the Clippers to develop a unique, high-performance design that’s representative of the character of the team and Los Angeles itself – powerful, exciting, and committed to the experience of place, purpose, and community. Visitors to the facility will not have to prioritize one experience over another at games or concerts – they can have it all.”

Intuit Dome is scheduled to open for the 2024-25 National Basketball Association season. It is located at West Century Boulevard and South Prairie Avenue in Inglewood, adjacent to the recently completed SoFi Stadium, the Forum, and Hollywood Park.

Steve Ballmer, the team’s owner, is reported to have said the new building will be like no other in the NBA.

“Basketball mecca! Basketball palazzo!” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Every detail — from the huge two-sided halo video screen that will hover over the court, to the triple-wide escalators, to how the bathrooms will be designed to get fans back in their seats as quickly as possible — has a purpose.

The halo will include 44,000 square feet of 4K LED lighting, slightly more than one full acre and roughly six times the average size of other “big” screens in NBA buildings. The roof of the dome was designed to accommodate the halo, not the other way around.

Things the Clippers have seen in play at German soccer stadiums, other NBA buildings, NFL stadiums, even the Amazon Go checkout-free convenience stores all sparked various ideas that will be put into play at Intuit Dome, the AP reported.

“They’ve all led us here, to this vacant lot that we’re about to transform to the singular best place for fans and players throughout the world,” Ballmer was quoted.

One of the league’s best-known fans, and one of the world’s wealthiest men — the former Microsoft CEO Ballmer is generally believed to be worth around $100 billion — may be building the coolest possible basketball hangout for himself and 18,000 of his closest friends.

“That’s a very well-put statement,” Ballmer was quoted.

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