Raising the Roof


The unique design of the Staples Center was forged by the twin pressures of a very short deadline--18 months--and the desire to create an icon for Los Angeles. The result is a building with an exposed supertruss, with virtually all exterior walls and roof sloped. Sixty-foot walls of glass lean out over sidewalks, each pane a slightly different size and shape to fit the complex geometry. Inside is a spacious facility with large floor-to-ceiling open concourse areas and luxury details on three suite levels.



A supertruss structure (above left) was chosen because it would be faster--though more expensive--to build than the ring beam design usually favored for circular structures such as The Forum (above right) and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

With a supertruss, the building’s framework hangs from one central spine, or truss. No other circular sports facility in the nation uses this design. Its high cost is due to the special “jumbo” steel that must be used. Shear walls aid in structural integrity during earthquakes. Most of the structural work was precast and then hoisted into place, another big time saver.


The ring beam design uses steel tension wires tied to a central ring beam--like a wheel with spokes--to support the structure.


An original animation created by Los Angeles artist Jennifer Steinkamp will be projected onto a scrim-like plastic sheet below the prow of the supertruss outside. It is one of six public art pieces at the site. The others will be near each entrance.

The abstract computer art--about 12 feet by 15 feet--will be projected from the inside and run nightly during events. It will be visible over a wide area.


Basketball: 20,000

Hockey: 18,500

Arena Football: 18,500

Boxing: 20,000

Concerts: 20,000


This is the upper seating area. Press boxes are on another level just above. Outdoor eating area has view of downtown. Upper concourse also has small box office. KEY:



Meeting spaces

Locker and dressing rooms

Retail merchandise

Luxury suites

Box office




There are three suite levels, but concessions and bars are on Level A only. Arena Club restaurant has view of the court/ice. Private entrances.



This is entrance (ground) level. Features a variety of concessions as well as a team store and restaurant. Box office has windows inside and outside.



Below ground level.


Lakers Locker Room


Grooming area


Big screen TV


Training room

Coach’s office

Weight room


* How many: 160, on three levels.

* Price: $197,500 to $307,500 per year.

* Capacity: Various models seat 8, 10, 12 and 14; option to buy more tickets.

* Leasing: 5 years with a 7% annual increase; 7 years with 5% increase; 10 years with 3% increase.

* Access: Everything, including all Lakers, Clippers, Clippers, Kings and Avengers games, concerts, ice shows, etc.

* Rentals: 13 suites on Suite Level C are available for rental on a per-event basis, starting at $2,500 (includes food and beverage). Walls are adjustable so that as many as three suites can be combined.

* Amenities: Large TV and three additional monitors. Satellite feeds of other NHL and NBA games, as well as live feed of game in progress. No restrooms.

* Services: Fax and copy machines, computers, private conference rooms. In-suite catering also available.


Wet bar

Large TV, with two additional monitors

2 refrigerators, ice maker

Counter-top end folds down for wheelchair

Choice of three color schemes for upholstery and finishes

First two seats are on casters, to roll away for wheelchair

Glass separates suites

Suites are open to the arena; seats are outside

Granite counter tops


Center-hung, eight-sided, with four video screens and four message boards, allowing good viewing from every seat. Video boards are 16 feet wide by 13 feet high with ability to display a high-definition picture.


Seats vary in size and comfort, depending on location. Suites have thick, well-cushioned black vinyl seats. All other seats are purple, with textured fabric covers. Cupholders are attached to the back of all seats. Some comparisons: Premier:

Leg room *: 8”

Seat width 21” **


Upper Concourse:

Leg room 8 1/2”*:

Seat width 19 1/2”**


The Forum:

Leg room *: 8 1/2”

Seat width 20” **

* Averages; measured from front edge of folded-down cushion to top-middle of backrest of seat in front; at similiar locations in both venues.

**: Industry standard measures seat width from center of armrest to center of armrest.


Ice will remain in place during the entire hockey season. For basketball or other events, a 1-inch thick layer of plastic, plywood and foam sandwiched together will cover the ice, with event flooring laid atop that. The Lakers and Clippers will each have their own maple floor; the Clippers’ is slightly darker. For a more detailed look at the conversion of ice to wood, see Page 64.


The Staples Center has roughly 2times the square footage of the Forum, which could fit entirely within the seating area of the new facility, as shown, below left. A different angle, below right, compares seating slopes--cut away at half court/center ice--and shows how much higher seats in Upper Concourse are in the Staples Center.


Note: Forum layout does not include temporary seats.

Sources: Staples Center; NBBJ Sports & Entertainment; The Forum; The Rose Garden; The United Center; Robbins Sports Surfaces; Times staff