New Kings arena photos, videos—and whether Sacramento needs more spaceships

Yesterday, the Kings unveiled arena design “concepts”—not renderings or actual images of what the arena will look like, mind you. Just concepts. (In fact, the group made a concerted effort to remind, over and over again all day long, that these are just ideas. The arena will not look like this. Or maybe it will.)

Anyway, the point of the non-renderings is to prompt reactions from people who see them. It’s like a Rorschach Test, but for the arena—and how awesome is that!

Foremost Kings arena critic Neil DeMause, of website Field of Schemes, was quick to note that the drawings, basically, are just an opportunity for PR spin and don’t amount to much.

But let’s not be wishy-washy, especially because today is the first day of the rest of the Sacramento Kings life (tonight is opening night, in case you’ve been living under Pizza Rock). Commissioner David Stern is in town, hanging out with Sutter Brown and windowshopping for new arenas:

And so, SN&R indulges with some arena-conceptualization madness! 

Let’s rewind to last night’s city council meeting: The arena’s lead developer, Mark Friedman, spoke and shared the “philosophy” behind the design of the building.

He used words such as “architecturally significant,” “environmentall responsible” (I didn’t realize an arena could be that?), “absolutely fantastic place,” “great civic space,” and “showcase what’s terrific about Sacramento.”

Friedman never said what exactly is terrific about Sacramento, but we’re all hoping he means this guy:

(Just kidding, Kenny, SN&R loves ya!)

Kings president Chris Granger was the next presenter. He showed non-drawing drawings of where the proposed arena might go downtown (have a look at the video, below):

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Bee reporter Ryan Lillis Tweeted images of the not-actual-arena-rendering renderings. Here’s a play-by-play:

This first is an aerial view of how one of the three arena concepts would fit into the existing K Street and Downtown Plaza area.

A lot of talk about the new arena has centered on how it cannot be a “black hole” when there are not games or concerts, which is more than half of the days of the year.

This non-concept concept, however, seems to still show a big donut that takes up nearly two-and-a-half city blocks. The only way you can see into it is if you are flying over the top of it, which is convenient for the millionaire set with private helicopters, but that’s about it, right?

Or maybe not. Kings president Chris Granger says he hopes that it the arena won’t be a “hermetic box,” and that people on the plaza (see video above) will be able to walk right up and watch parts of the game.

This way, you can “expand” the number of people who can get into the building, you know, for a “U2 concert” (his words). 

Anyway, here’s another drawing:

This concept was, reportedly, a fan favorite at last night’s council meeting. And it’s also Shaq’s favorite, according to Granger.

The next is the spaceship arena:

And spaceship, the sequel:

My quick-hit reaction? It’s all very strange to envision this going down at K and 7th streets. I ride light rail by that location nearly every day; plopping some giant District 9 star cruiser-cum building, complete with an “LA Live plaza”—yes, they’re still calling it that—and a bunch of Mark Friedman/Arden Fair Mall style retail is a bizarre concept to imagine (even though these were not concepts, again, I remind you. Let’s just call them notions.)

My gut says they don’t vibe with Sacramento. The Sacto aesthetic is minimal: reclaimed wood, muted colors, iron, glass. Sure, you can’t build an arena out of fallen oak trees and the like. But do we want a wannabe Gehry spaceship in the thick of the J-K-L corridor?

Anyway, watch the entire Kings-city council presentation of the arena notions here:

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