New York–based SHoP Architects recently gave a face-lift to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. The 1972 structure had what the architects call “good bones,” and the biggest challenge was adapting the robust building for contemporary sports and entertainment standards, while simultaneously creating an icon for the region. “Everyone on Long Island has these cherished memories of a big game or a first concert at the Coliseum, and the renovation was a long time coming, so it had to function symbolically as well to express that deep emotional attachment people have to the place,” says Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP. The new experience begins with Gensler-designed interiors, where visitors find an expanded concourse, more natural light, and concessions served by local restaurants and vendors. But SHoP’s new facade is the source of the building’s wow factor, thanks to the firm’s expertise in digital design. More than 4,000 aluminum fins sinuously circle the structure, giving the Coliseum a bold and dynamic look. “The brushed-aluminum surfaces [generate] some very complex reflections, and not just of the sky. It also picks up the colors of passing cars and even the movement of the crowds as they enter,” Sharples says. The building opened to the public in April, with Long Island’s own Billy Joel playing the inaugural concert.
David Basulto is the founder and editor-in-chief of ArchDaily.