Prospectus #221 The Pit
Home of UNM's basketball, University Arena is built in a 37-foot hole on Albuquerque's southeast mesa, hence the name, The Pit. Originally constructed in 1966, major upgrades and expansions to the facility were undertaken in 1975 and again in 2010. Including reserved standing-room-only spots, The Pit's capacity is 18,018. Featured in USA Today, Rivals.com, Sports Illustrated and FoxSports.com, it is one of college basketball's most famous and recognizable buildings. Averaging more than 15,000 fans in attendance in each of the last 46 years, more than 12 million fans have descended into The Pit to see their favorite college basketball team dominate the competition on Bob King Court.
New Mexico Arts Art in Public Places program and the Local Selection Committee at the University of New Mexico sought to commission an artist or artist team specializing in lighting design, multimedia and/or video installation that would enliven the building through a dynamic nighttime installation programmed to convey the excitement of activities held at the facility.
Ivan Depeña from Brooklyn, NY was awarded the commission.
Depeña's, "Inside/Out" represents the idea that architecture can be a living, breathing organism that gets injected with life as it is inhabited by its visitors and, in turn, projects the energy that takes place within the structure outward into the city itself. "Inside/Out" is an interactive public art light installation. Depeña used LED lights to construct a colorful wall programmed to convey the excitement of activities inside the Pit, known as one of the loudest college arenas. This means that all of the noise that is made during the game or event is captured and directly represented on the exterior of the building in real time via the dynamic quality of the lighting. Additionally, the lighting is programmed, down to the minute, to respond to the environmental/color conditions of the sunset time frame. The intention is for the architecture to have a direct dialogue with the landscape, horizon and the site's general environment.