Upon winning an international design competition, local architects McGranahan and Messenger completed the Tacoma Dome in 1983 for $44 million which opened on April 21; the arena seats 17,100 for basketball. 530 feet (160 m) in diameter and 152 feet (46 m) tall, and able to seat 23,000, it is the largest arena with a wooden dome in the world when measured by volume. The Superior Dome, in Marquette, Michigan, is a larger diameter geodesic dome at 536 feet (163 m), but is only 143 feet (44 m) high and only seats a maximum of 16,000. Unlike most other arenas of its size, the arena contains little in the way of fixed seating so as to maximize the flexibility of the seating arrangements and of the shape of the playing field. It can even host American football, albeit with seating reduced to only 10,000.
The Tacoma Dome is also known for its controversial neon art. In 1984 the Stephen Antonakos piece displayed inside the dome was the subject of intense debate over public funding of artworks for public works projects.
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