Golden 1 Center

Case Study: Golden 1 Center

Golden 1 Center is truly an amazing building. Completed in 2016, the arena is 675,000 square feet and can seat up to 19,000 people. What really makes this arena special is the commitment from the Sacramento Kings organization and the design team at AECOM to achieve the highest standards of green building. Originally, the team’s goal was to achieve a LEED Gold, but after additional planning and design innovations, the project achieved Platinum. Part of what drove the project team to remain focused on sustainable building was the very nature of Sacramento.

Known as “The City of Trees,” Sacramento has an astounding 3 million trees within its city limits. These oak, sycamore, and black walnut trees that line the busy streets of Sacramento influenced a very important design feature for the project, and this is where Kovach enters the story. As a tribute and gesture to Sacramento’s urban forests, AECOM designed an aluminum plate skin with a repeated “falling leaves” pattern stamped and perforated into the panels. AECOM’s intention with this pattern was for the leaves to appear to be falling as the sunlight shifted throughout the day. Kovach was brought in by Turner to assist the project team on how to make the renderings come to reality while staying within budget and maintaining design intent.


As Kovach worked through the design, it became clear that value engineering would be necessary to get the project within budget. We are dedicated to helping owners and architects achieve their design intent while maintaining budget, so we stayed committed to finding the best solutions possible. Along with our vast network of suppliers, decades of experience, and in-house design and engineering, we provide a multitude of resources to find creative budgetary solutions without sacrificing aesthetics.

Choose the Uncompromising Route

After exploring many different options across our vendor and supplier network, we developed a cost-effective method of routing the leaf pattern rather than stamping it, which worked within the project’s budget. Additionally, we brought solutions to the table to use a thinner aluminum plate and use exposed fasteners to bring the costs of the aluminum skin down. Since these solutions were a deviation from the original design by AECOM, mockups were required to ensure we were on the right track. We built a full-scale mockup and used a crane to hoist the panels to the same height they would be once installed on the building. We left the panels at that height for multiple days so the team could see how the leaves changed their appearance as their reflection adjusted with shifting daylight and demonstrate that the exposed fasteners were unnoticeable at the install height.

Meeting Performance Specs

In addition to solving the budgetary challenges of the falling leaf pattern, we also had to develop solutions for creating a watertight and airtight system. To achieve building performance specifications, a separate wall had to be constructed behind the aluminum cladding. Kovach worked with Kingspan to utilize their Karrier System. This system uses insulated metal panels as the main barrier wall and has supports that transfer exterior cladding loads through the IMP back to structural supports. With this system, we were able to fasten the aluminum plate safely and securely with loads being transferred to the structural supports while also benefiting from the insulative properties of the IMP wall. Since both the aluminum plate and IMP could be installed with just one system, it was beneficial to both the schedule and budget.

An Arena Fit for Kings

Ultimately, the design team at AECOM and the Sacramento Kings organization were very happy with our results. The exterior wall’s performance and skin cladding design helped the project receive its LEED Platinum recognition. We take great pride in knowing we can help solve problems and achieve goals not just for our scope but for the project as a whole.