Built Environment Description #2

The Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta was built in 1999. It is a multi-purpose building, holding different events such as concerts to sporting events. It is the home of the NBA team of the Atlanta Hawks and the WNBA team of the Atlanta Dream. It was the home for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers from 1999 until 2011 when they moved to Winnipeg. When you first arrive to the arena, you are met with an awe inspiring piece of architecture. The entrance is a large, silver canopy that spells the word “Atlanta” with its metal beams. It is very easy to miss due to its daunting size, requiring you to look at it from a distance. Once you walk past the Atlanta architecture, you are greeted by a magnificent statue honoring arguably the best player in Hawks history, Dominique Wilkins. It was crafted with beautiful copper and imposes its presence on you standing at 13 and a half feet tall. The architecture on the entrance and the statue just past it really give an insight into the rhetoric of the building. It builds a sense of community with the word Atlanta at its entrance because when you enter the building, you are entering a piece of Atlanta. The statue of Dominique Wilkins also provides insight into the culture of Atlanta showing how one man has brought the community together through the power of sports, transcending any class or race. Once you actually enter the arena, there are two different atmospheres. The first is one that is completely dead. This would be due to there being no event taking place that night, and it feels like a ghost town. Everywhere you look, it is completely vacant and eerily quiet. However, during nights with an event, it is bumping, literally. You would not be able to meander your way through the crowds without bumping into someone. An overhead look would be comparable to a cattle drive in the old west, or being inside a pack of sardines. Once you find your seats, you are able to get a little bit of your personal space back. However, it is always extremely loud no matter if it is a concert or a basketball game. There are always fans that live up to their names of fanatics, screaming at the top of their lungs and with veins popping out of places you didn’t even know had veins. Your attention is also being grabbed by countless things like the swift gameplay by the basketball players, or the giant sky blue scoreboard throwing video clips at you. The overall atmosphere of an event draws you into the community of Atlanta. Its intriguing to see how one building can provide a place for people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities to come together and share an experience.

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