Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ballpark design

From the podcast 99% Invisible, an episode about the design of new stadiums ballparks: “In the Same Ballpark.” Mark Lamster, an architecture critic, quoted therein:

“They all have the same DNA, they all kind of look kind of the same, except the whole idea is that each one is idiosyncratic and individual. It’s a tall tale.”
Stefan Hagemann, this one’s for you.

comments: 2

Stefan said...

Thanks for this, Michael. In Chicago, one can see both ends of the spectrum: Wrigley Field, despite efforts by its new owners to “modernize,” is still the country’s best example of the old-time park, one that is tied organically to its neighborhood and that remains beautiful and functional, despite the new jumbo-tron. In contrast, U.S. Cellular Field, nee New Comiskey Field, (and soon to be Guaranteed Rate Field), represents the old "toilet bowl" design mentioned in the podcast. It is vertiginous (the upper decks really do make one dizzy) and too large for its purpose, but its worst quality is location. It is surrounded by parking lot and looks out on an expressway and, for a long time, a notorious housing project. Mike Royko wrote a great column in 1990, "Shooting Holes in an Urban Legend," concerning claims that the new stadium opened with bullet holes in its seats. A few years after New Comiskey opened, they build Camden Yards. I'm not a serious White Sox fan, but I've always regretted the fact that, had the owners waited ten years, Chicago might have today two of the best parks in the country. Thanks for thinking of me. And congratulations on having a budget.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the added background, Stefan. I liked the dowdy new parks the podcast described until that architecture critic spoke up. I still like the idea of brick and green-painted iron.

I like the idea of a budget too. I hope public higher education can recover.