Crisler Center at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

The Crisler Center, the home of Wolverine basketball since 1967, was in need of a renovation. Less than ideal amenities, seating, and air and plumbing systems kept the aging arena from measuring up to others across the Big Ten Conference. Though upgrades were necessary, Bill Frederick, architect at TMP Architecture, said at its heart, the Crisler Center had everything it needed to dominate the paint.

According to Frederick, building upon these strong elements made the transition from outdated to upgraded much simpler than starting over. “It was a solid structure, but it was time for renewal.”

The renovations were originally slated to achieve LEED Silver certification. But Frederick said as the project developed, it became clear the building could obtain LEED gold. “We were able to do that because of a combination of reuse of materials, efficient mechanical systems and some site things relative to the fact of where the university is located,” he said. This idea of repurposing existing buildings is something Frederick said is a very natural, sustainable approach to construction.

The first phase of the project addressed the highest priority infrastructure needs and included repairs to the roof and electrical, plumbing, and air handling systems. Seating improvements were made with updates for those with disabilities. Any code-related issues were also taken care of during this phase. A new high-definition video scoreboard and a premium seating area were installed.

On an incredibly short deadline for phase two, Michielutti Bros. covered 50,600 square feet in terrazzo, including the concourse level and the lower east entryway, all in time for basketball season.

Installing terrazzo in a renewed building is the perfect fit, due to its creation from reused materials and sustainability. “It’s a pretty neat material. It holds up well and has low maintenance needs,” Frederick said.

The terrazzo not only played a role in the gold certification the building achieved, but also added the spirit of the Wolverines to the arena. The rousing U of M fight song is embedded within the terrazzo at each column – leading the spectators and players to victory.

“It’s one of those small details that is meant to be discovered, to be enjoyed and to help create a feeling about the facility and about the university. It’s there to reinforce the whole experience,” Frederick said.

Project details

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Project Name: Crisler Center at the University of Michigan
  • Owner/Client: University of Michigan
  • Terrazzo Contractor: Michielutti Bros., Inc.
  • Architect & Designer: TMP Architecture
  • General Contractor: Spence Brothers
  • Terrazzo Material Supplier: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co.
  • Divider Strip Supplier: National Metal Shapes
  • Photography: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

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