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April 15, 2024
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Draftsmen & Craftsmen


Work on a new exterior “skin” for the Phoenix Suns’ Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix has been completed. The project, designed to make the wall panels look like rippling water when the wind blows and, alternatively, blaze on fire when the when the sun strikes, was created by Kovach Enclosure Systems LLC on behalf of the property owners, the Phoenix Suns and the City of Phoenix.

Photo: Christy Radecic
Photo: Christy Radecic
Using 130,000 kinetic, 6-inch by 6-inch aluminum flaps that move independently without electricity, the arena’s 45k sf new “skin,” or exterior wall panels, are designed to evoke nature. The design architect, HOK, specifically selected the dynamic “prismatic orange” color to resemble fire and elicit the Suns’ winning streaks. Creating a new exterior look for the arena was the capstone to major renovations that have taken place at the Footprint Center in recent years.

In partnership with the artist Ned Kahn, Kovach engineered the panels in-house and manufactured them along with the frames at their state-of-the-art Chandler facility, utilizing high-grade materials while creatively navigating a tight project budget. In addition to kinetic walls, Kovach cladded the new commissary on the East Paseo with glass and metal panels and updated the glazing at entrances.

Okland Construction of Tempe served as the general contractor and HOK of Los Angeles the architect. Northern California environmental artist Ned Kahn provided the artistic inspiration. The Phoenix Suns and the City of Phoenix are the project owners.

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