San Diego State University, Cox Arena and Aztec Recreation Center

San Diego, California

  • FIRM

    Carrier Johnson


    SDSU Associates Students

  • AREA

    229,950 sq.ft.





The design team for the San Diego State University (SDSU) Cox Arena and Aztec Recreation Center faced the challenges of accommodating many different extramural activities in one complex, and providing a pedestrian connection between the west and east sides of an extensive suburban campus.

The 12,000-seat arena sits under a 280-foot ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY12,000COST PER SQ FT$125.00FEATURED IN1999 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized 350-foot column-free long-span roof. In addition to serving as home for SDSU’s basketball team, the facility was designed to host volleyball games, concerts, plays, lectures and other special events. Efficient design of spaces over and under the stationary seating accommodates ticket offices, locker rooms, dressing rooms, administrative offices, media offices and various support functions. As an adaptive reuse of a former football stadium, the arena was built in a 65-foot-deep canyon.

The single-story Aztec Recreation Center to the northwest of the arena houses multipurpose classrooms, a 7,000-square-foot weightroom, gymnasiums, an indoor climbing wall, locker rooms, a sports equipment store, a lounge area, a health bar and administrative offices.

This complex also features: a pedestrian bridge spanning the canyon and fully integrated into the arena structure; real-time video playback scoreboard in the arena; restrooms and concessions on a concourse circling the arena to minimize congestion and allow for more seating; incorporation of natural daylight in the recreation center to minimize energy consumption.

Photographers: ©John Christiansen and ©Gordon Carrier