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Warren Corman is the last living architect of iconic Allen Fieldhouse

Warren Corman
Posted at 3:00 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 19:22:46-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A six-person group of state architects built Ahearn Field House at Kansas State University in the 1940s.

The project led to the University of Kansas wanting one that was bigger and better.

Warren Corman, 96, is the last living architect who was part of both projects.

While some people consider Allen Fieldhouse the center of the basketball universe, it hasn't always been that way.

"We didn't know it would be an iconic building, it was just a huge building," Corman said.

The location for Allen Fieldhouse was a half-mile away from KU's campus in a cornfield.

"It seemed like a big barn way out from campus. They said nobody will find it, it's so far away," Corman said.

Corman said many were skeptical about the construction of the fieldhouse given the size and its location. Some of the major requirements for Allen Fieldhouse were a building at least 180,000 square-feet with 17,000 seats.

"The building isn't a beautiful building at all, it's just a huge building," Corman said.

However, he also said the real beauty of Allen Fieldhouse is the treasure it's become.

"It became an iconic building because of the folks that played their and won," Corman said.

He thinks it was players like Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning who played at KU and sold out Allen Fielhouse that grew its reputation. A sell-out crowd is something Corman thought would never be done, and for so cheap.

"When you first built it, you could go down there anytime you want to and buy a ticket for $2 or $3," Corman said.

For nearly 60 years, Corman has been a season ticket holder, cheering on the Jayhawks just a few rows up from the hardwood.