University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kohl Center

Where “intimate” and “intimidating” means everyone gets a great seat

Madison, Wisconsin

The Kohl Center had to meet big expectations when it was designed to replace the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s beloved Field House as the home for basketball. The old Field House brought the fans extraordinarily close to the action on the court. The effect: looming, loud and close. The result: a home court advantage that racked up year after year of winning seasons. So when the time came to design the Kohl Center to house both basketball and hockey, the words “intimate” and “intimidating” were key design goals that the new facility simply had to possess.

The designers knew that the fan experience and competitive advantage needed to work hand-in-hand at the Kohl Center. The facility was designed for a capacity of 16,500 fans for basketball, 11,000 for hockey and 15,000 for community events. Whether it’s a basketball or hockey game or rock concert, every seat is a great seat with excellent sight lines to the action. Where the old Field House had only one concession facility, the Kohl Center has 12 which boost revenue opportunities as well as making the event more fun for the fans. Even the concourses are part of the celebratory energy, with display areas factored into the design, so that as fans move to their seats they can learn about the event they are about to enjoy. The contemporary design set the tone for this new district within the UW-Madison campus and the tone for the new basketball and hockey experiences.

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“Every time I go in, I feel so good about the building…in every way I would have hoped, it has been a success.” Senator Herb Kohl

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