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Ballparks as architecture

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  • Ballparks as architecture

    Very few parks are truly architectural accomplishments. Old Yankee Stadium was an accomplishment. Dodger Stadium was an accomplishment. Kauffman Stadium was an accomplishment. Camden Yards was an accomplishment. San Fransisco's new park was an accomplishment. These parks broke the mold. Most other recent ballparks have simply re-hashed what already exists.

    Which CURRENT ballpark do you consider to be the greatest architectural accomplishment and why? My favorite is Kauffman Stadium. The sloping upper deck, unique light towers, and view of the outfield waterfalls and bermed, landscaped lawn are about as good as it gets for me, especially since adding natural grass. The architecture is so simple and clean too, it really advertises itself from I-70!

  • #2
    Originally posted by schulzte View Post
    Very few parks are truly architectural accomplishments. Old Yankee Stadium was an accomplishment. Dodger Stadium was an accomplishment. Kauffman Stadium was an accomplishment. Camden Yards was an accomplishment. San Fransisco's new park was an accomplishment. These parks broke the mold. Most other recent ballparks have simply re-hashed what already exists.

    Which CURRENT ballpark do you consider to be the greatest architectural accomplishment and why? My favorite is Kauffman Stadium. The sloping upper deck, unique light towers, and view of the outfield waterfalls and bermed, landscaped lawn are about as good as it gets for me, especially since adding natural grass. The architecture is so simple and clean too, it really advertises itself from I-70!

    i agree with the INSIDE of Kauffman, but the OUTSIDE is just a plain nondescript mess of unpainted concrete, no better than a 70s cookie cutter. no architectural merits whatsoever. maybe the renovations will jazz it up some.

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    • #3
      I would say PNC is at the top of that list. I haven't been there but I'd like to go someday. I would have to say it looks like an intament park and was the first of the new breed to not go overboard and understands that it is a ballpark in a small market town. Sure it still doesn't draw a lot of fans, but they didn't build a huge 50,000 seat stadium with countless luxury suites. In architecture, form follows function and PNC does this well. I think that the view of Pittsburgh is the best view in baseball, hands down.

      Many places like Arlington and Milwaukee built huge new stadiums with the hope of it being a cash cow because it is NEW AND IMPROVED over the previous stadium. We've all seen how empty these parks have been. You have to know your market and fan base. Milwaukee gets a lot of flack being called Wrigley North since visiting Cubs fans always seem to outnumber the Brewers fans.

      I like Busch III here is St. Louis. It isn't anything ground breaking though, but it was different in that it was built accoring to it's small/mid market city, but larger than PNC because of the regional draw the Cardinals have. People here complained, as those Met's fans do about Citi Field, that the Cardinals were moving into a ballpark that seats less that the previous stadium. But I always fell into the group of people who realize it didn't need to seat as much or more than Busch II because Busch II rarely, unless it was a Cards/Cubs game or playoff game, filled up those extra 5,000 seats that it had over Busch III.

      After looking at designs for the A's, Twins and Rays, teams are finally realizing that they need to build their ballparks according to how big their city is in the market of baseball. Each one of those teams knows they are a small market team and the design for their ballparks follows that fact.
      Last edited by stlfan; 04-03-2008, 06:55 PM.
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      • #4
        Another vote for PNC. No park better incorporates, and even celebrates, the surrounding existing area (photos courtesy me).






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        • #5
          Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
          Another vote for PNC. No park better incorporates, and even celebrates, the surrounding existing area
          I totally agree with your assessment. It's my favorite park. And the exterior is awesome as well.

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          • #6
            Kauffman and Dodger Stadium are really the only two that had a design concept in mind. Like them or not (I love PNC and OPACY, and AT&T looks beautiful), but the retro parks were just borrowing heavily from existing ballpark architecture.

            Dodger Stadium was a perfect combination of the light and heavy. Overlooking the tremendous weight of the earthen hills (indeed, the park's very existence inside the hill reinforces this fact), each deck seems beautifully suspended in air, with the japanese fan roof the perfect, light accent. The original pastel color scheme was the perfect counterpoint to the natural earth tones. It was a perfect rebirth for the Dodgers organization, as those elements could not be farther from dirty and gritty Brooklyn.

            Meanwhile, Kauffman (and Arrowhead) are the only baseball parks that could ever truly be considered sculptural in design. The razor-sharp tapering of the upper deck, both functional and aesthetic, seemed as radical to its cookie-cutter competition as its sole-use purpose. And instead of circling the seating bowl with as many seats as possible, fountains tied the whole park together, instantly recognizable yet not gimmicky, a wholly unexpected but perfect accompaniment to baseball.

            These are the only two parks I truly consider to be capital-A Architecture. Everything else are very American, and often very nice, but none had such appreciation for the big picture.
            http://www.virtualfenway.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sean O View Post
              Kauffman and Dodger Stadium are really the only two that had a design concept in mind. Like them or not (I love PNC and OPACY, and AT&T looks beautiful), but the retro parks were just borrowing heavily from existing ballpark architecture.
              Having a "concept" doesn't make it good; some of the ugliest, most life-destroying structures I've ever had the misfortune to be inside or near were very conceptual.

              On the other hand, "borrowing" patterns that work (if you can identify them properly) and then fitting them to your site, is usually pretty successful.

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              • #8
                Ok I agree with everyone that yankee stadium is a classic, dodger stadium is perfectly retro without trying, kauffman has cool modern designs, orieol park broke the mold, and pnc park caters to their fan size and that great view of the water and bridge.

                One I like is great american ball park. Its got a great river view, they had a steamboat design based on the area, and they have that cool cut out so people in the outfield can see the skyline.

                The Skydome is pretty cool too, they were the first to have a retractable roof, its got a futurisitic vibe, and that hotel in the outfield makes it interesting too.

                Although milwaukee didn't get the seating size right, they did a great job at a making a beautiful looking stadium. The ebbets field inspired design is cool, the all brick is nice and classic, and the butterfly shaped dome adds a new twist on how to open a roof.
                The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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                • #9
                  This is an interesting thread. I'm only going to count ballparks I've been to in my comments.

                  Yankee Stadium is what it is because of the history there. I went to a few games there in 1992 and 1993, and I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to have seen it before the 1970s rennovations. I wished I could have seen the original exterior, the large left and center fields, the original frieze around the top of the interior, and monument park actually in fair territory. Still, it was wonderful being where Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggion, Mantle, and Maris played.

                  The only ballpark I have ever visited where I was impressed just from an architectural standpoint is Kauffman Stadium. The way the upper deck ends in a point at each corner, with the light standards coming up and turning makes for a stylish structure. The water fountains and the big crown scoreboard were also a nice touch.

                  I've had problems with the design of the Ballpark in Arlington. Why did they have to make the main concourse without any view of the playing field? And why did they have to put the main scoreboard up on the roof over the right field seating section (where it cannot be seen from at least a quarter of the seats)? It's almost as if they designed the ballpark, and then said, "Oh crap, we need a scoreboard. Let's just throw it on the roof." The asymetrical outfield fence doesn't bother me as much as it does Schultze, but I agree that it just seems contrived. And still, with all its problems, the Ballpark in Arlington is a vast improvement over the old Arlington Stadium.

                  I did attend the first game ever played at Chase Field (then known as the BOB). I haven't been back to Phoenix since then. My lasting impression was that it looked like an airplane hangar. The roof opening (which they did during the pregame ceremonies) was impressive, and I will admit that it is an engineering marvel.

                  Minute Maid Park has a much better retractible roof. And I like the fact that they weren't afraid to put the center field fence 436 feet away from home plate. I wish other parks had larger distances. (I really wish the new Yankee Stadium would use the dimensions of the original Yankee Stadium, but I'm sure hitters would have a problem with that. I mean, what's more exciting, seeing someone hit a ball over the fence and jog around the bases or seeing a guy hit a ball over an outfielder and run as hard as he can while the outfielder retrieves the ball and fires it into the infield as the batter slides into third?) But Tal's Hill in center field at Minute Maid? You can't get more contrived than that.

                  My favorite place to watch a game is Coors Field in Denver. It has none of the problems that I listed in association with the Ballpark in Arlington. I do wish that the mountains were visible from anywhere in the ballpark, but since they lie to the west (and most games are played in the evening), I understand why they set it up the way it is. I've sat on the first base side and looked into that setting sun. I couldn't imagine being a hitter and having to battle that sun while facing major league pitching.
                  Last edited by Danielh41; 04-04-2008, 07:59 AM.
                  Rockies fan living in Texas

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
                    One I like is great american ball park. Its got a great river view, they had a steamboat design based on the area, and they have that cool cut out so people in the outfield can see the skyline.
                    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...rican+ballpark

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                    • #11
                      That sucks, I still like it though! I think other people seem to agree with me since ballparkreviews.com gave it a B+ and ballparkdigest.com gave it 5 out of 5 baseballs.
                      Last edited by Chevy114; 04-04-2008, 10:04 AM.
                      The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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                      • #12
                        One thing that I enjoy about Citizens Bank Park is that behind home plate, the seats are in a straight line instead of the normal curved layout of most other ballparks (in fact, of all others ballparks after researching a little bit). It's a small detail but no other park in the majors has a seating layout like this (also all seating sections turn at a 45 degree angle with the exception of the lower bowl, kinda unique I think). Seating chart is below for reference.

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                        • #13
                          They designed that as an homage to Shibe Park. Look at the main grandstand shape of Shibe and compare it to CBP and it's almost dead on. I personally like it. It sets itself apart from the rest. The only problem I have with CBP is that it's a bandbox.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by stlfan View Post
                            The only problem I have with CBP is that it's a bandbox.
                            You and me both........see Gordon, Tom

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                            • #15
                              The Rays' proposed ballpark could be something special... if it actually gets built, of course.



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