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 Kahler Slater/ HOK Sports Team 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. The Kohl Center was a "first-of-its-kind" intercollegiate athletics facility with dual concourses and a three-tiered/cantilevered seating bowl, which creates an intimate experience and guarantees that all fans will be close to the playing floor with unobstructed sight-lines. At center court, athletes can look up at three ascending, cheering spectator areas, an awesome and intimidating sight for opponents. 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.