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No Stadium, No Problem
Forum Studio's master plan was designed to be flexible enough to function with or without a stadium.
Courtesy Forum Studio

St. Louis is quickly bouncing back from the abrupt move of the Rams football team to Los Angeles, an act the city considers a slight from the National Football League. And, for a handful of stakeholders along the north Mississippi riverfront, the first step to recovery is figuring out what will happen in the space which had, until January, been planned to be a brand new $1 billion stadium.

The latest developments did not worry Chicago- and St. Louis–based Forum Studio though. As the lead designer for the development of the North Riverfront, its master plan had been in the works long before the idea of putting a stadium in the former industrial area came about. Working with Great Rivers Greenway, a public organization in charge of managing the riverfront development, Forum’s plan was specifically designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the possibility of a stadium from the beginning.

 

From vacant industrial buildings and empty lots, to a casino and chocolate factory, the 180-acre site is already diverse in its makeup. Immediately to the south are the Gateway Arch grounds, well into a $380 million renovation. The first phase of the master plan includes a 21-acre riverfront park that will complement the more formal park surrounding the Arch. “The ability to put really active programing wasn’t feasible in the Arch grounds,” said Tyler Meyr, principal at Forum, when discussing some of the features their master plan will bring to the riverfront. “We really want to bring a lot of active innovative park programing to that area. It also has access to the river, so we have looked at add barges with additional venues or park spaces right on the water.” The Forum plan includes a diverse series of mixed use zones and open spaces with names like the Creative District, Barge Park, the Innovation District, Energy Plaza, Mound Point, Great Lawn, the Media Wall, and Metro Plaza. The Creative District is filled with a handful of large historic warehouse buildings that Forum envisions one day being filled with university housing and workspace, or other creative institutions. The Innovation District is imagined as a series of low-rise offices with views of the river. These spaces would be targeted at businesses that might otherwise fill suburban office parks, as well as the young tech companies that now call St. Louis home.

 

One of the major tasks Forum has taken on is facilitating the conversation about the possibilities of the project to the many players involved. With land held by city, county, and private interests, getting everyone on the same page can be a challenge. Discussing the current mood of everyone involved, Meyr said, “For the most part, the stakeholders are on board. We tried to include a plan that included all of the owner’s interests.” Because the process of assembling the private interests was bolstered during initial stadium planning, Forum has been able to piggyback off the work it and the Great Rivers Greenway already set into motion. Much of this work has been carried out through multiple open house presentations, and community stakeholder meetings over the last year and a half.

 

Forum’s master plan is designed to flex, change, and grow with the different interests involved. Though stadium plans may come and go (now interest has turned to Major League Soccer coming to St. Louis), the firm feels confident that its robust and diverse layout can accommodate whatever stakeholders can throw at it. Meyr pointed out how the plan has, in some ways, already been put to the test, “We are definitely open to collaborating, if somebody has a vision for a project. Just as it did with the stadium, where we took something that came to us as vision and integrated it into the plan. We would do the same for other opportunities”

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With the Rams leaving town, SPACE Architecture speculates on a St. Louis pro soccer stadium
St. Louis–based SPACE Architecture + Design has release a series of renderings for a speculative Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium for downtown St. Louis. This proposal comes in the wake of news that the NFL’s St. Louis Rams football team would be leaving St. Louis for Los Angeles, and subsequently not building a new stadium along the Mississippi River. Sports buzz has picked up again about a possible MLS team making its home in the city. Since the news that the city would be losing the professional football team, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and State Governor Jay Nixon  have continued to discuss the possibility of an expansion team in St. Louis. SPACE initiated the discussion of what a major league stadium would look like within their office two years ago when rumors of MLS’s interest in the city started to spread and fans began grassroots efforts to attract a team. In a discussion with AN, Alex Ihnen of SPACE explained the office’s motivations behind preemptively presenting the city with a stadium plan. “We think too often politicians and people who are excited think about money, they think about how we are going to pay for this, where do the taxes come from," he said. "That is their domain, but our domain as architects is to figure out how can this add to the city, which is bigger. It is important to get out ahead of this” The offices proposal involves a sunken field directly south of the historic Union Station. Union Station itself is under redevelopment. Located along Clark Street, SPACE envisions its proposal as a part possible downtown sports corridor, which would include the Major League Baseball Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Scottrade Center, home of the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. And though the proposal is an unsolicited speculation, the discussion of funding a stadium is already being taken seriously by state legislators. A ballot initiative has been presented by State Rep. Keith English to incur a one tenth of one percent sales tax in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The bill is written as to try and avoid a similar fiasco as the current Rams stadium, Edward Jones Dome, which has not been fully paid for despite the team leaving the city.
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WRNS Studio to expand Microsoft headquarters in Mountain View with green roof, creekside habitat
Last week Microsoft submitted plans to the city of Mountain View to expand its Silicon Valley headquarters. As with Apple's upcoming building and Google's proposed campus, this one is also pastoral and eco-minded. A rendering by shows the low-rise office buildings enmeshed in a riparian landscape and topped by an expanse of verdant meadow. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, WRNS Studio replaced SOM on the job. This new scheme not only updates the 515,000-square-foot campus, but also adds 128,000 square feet of workspace and 164,000 square feet of green roof. Changing the paradigm for parking, the design will restore more than 6 acres of asphalt surface parking into a “creekside environment.” But don’t expect a decreased demand for parking spaces, there’s talk of a new garage topped by a soccer field. "They’ve talked to us from square one about taking all the parking adjacent to Stevens Creek and turning that to habitat," said Mountain View Community development director Randy Tsuda told SVBJ. The tech behemoth also intends to buy the property, which it now leases. In an email to employees executive vice president Qi Lu wrote, “Today, I am excited to announce our plan to further invest in the success of the Silicon Valley region. Microsoft is acquiring the Mountain View Silicon Valley Campus to build a state-of-the-art facility and create an exceptional place to work... Sustainability, collaboration, and health & wellness are at the center of the design, incorporating features such as team courtyards, easy access to the outdoors, an onsite gym, and LEED Platinum certification.” WRNS’s plan calls for demolishing and rebuilding two existing buildings and infilling much of the campus with courtyards and outdoor spaces, while new programs along Macon Street and La Avenida Streets will directly engage with the community. Construction is expected to start in early 2017.
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A Detroit soccer team asks fans to crowdfund historic stadium rehabilitation
“City ‘til I Die” is the motto of the Detroit City Football Club (DCFC), a member of the National Premier Soccer League, the largest soccer league in the U.S. Now, the team is asking its fans to put their money where their motto is to help restore a historic neighborhood soccer stadium. DDFC is looking for a new home now that their fan base has outgrown their current home field, Cass Tech High School Stadium, just outside of downtown Detroit, “The success of the 2015 season saw us turning away people at the gates," DCFC co-owner Alex Wright said at the launch of the teams ambitious funding campaign. "It was a clear sign DCFC is ready to take the next step, and grow as an organization. Come spring of 2016, Keyworth Stadium will be the home field both our supporters and the residents of Hamtramck deserve.” The Keyworth Stadium Wright refers to is a small neighborhood stadium that is currently owned and used by the Hamtramck public school system. Hamtramck is a small city that is nearly completely surrounded by the city of Detroit, and sits five miles north of the downtown. The low concrete stadium sits directly in the neighborhood with small bungalows coming right up to its outer walls. As the first major Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in the Detroit area, Franklin D. Roosevelt was on hand to dedicate the stadium in October 1936. Now in great need of restoration, DCFC has an unorthodox plan to raise the needed funds to save the 80 year old stadium. Leveraging new state legislation, DCFC is looking to its fans to help finance the estimated $3 million it will take to fully rehabilitate Keyworth Stadium. Under the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE) Act, local businesses are able to receive investments from Michigan residents anywhere from $250 to $10,000. This means that individual fans are able to lend money to the team in order to move the stadium project forward. Investors will then be paid back with interest from team revenues. This model of fundraising is a stark contrast to how many sports teams use tax payer money to fund stadium projects, and DCFC is very proud of this. Wright points out, “On our way to saving history, Michigan residents will have the opportunity to make history, by joining us to complete what we believe to be the largest community-financed project in U.S. sports history." The funding project, run on MichiganFunders.com, is hoping to raise $750,000 to add to the team's own funds. Improvements to the stadium will include much needed structural reinforcement to the grandstands, new bathrooms, locker rooms, lights, and press box. A first phase to bring the stadium up to usable standards is expected to be complete by April 2016. When finished, the stadium will hold between 6,000 and 7,000 fans, which is more than double the capacity of the Cass Tech stadium.
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Definitely not a library: Herzog & De Meuron unveils new stadium for Chelsea soccer club in London

British soccer team Chelsea FC has submitted plans to the local authorities to construct a new 60,000-seat stadium at Stamford Bridge, their current home ground. The proposal, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, brings with it a price tag of $750 million. The Swiss duo are known for their stadia designs, notably with the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, the Allianz Arena in Munich, and a wispy venue in Bordeaux.

As part of the application, the club will demolish the current playing arena along with the surrounding buildings which include a hotel and an array of restaurants. The submission will be reviewed by Hammersmith & Fulham Council who has have said they will accept comments regarding the new stadium up until 8 January, 2016.

According to the club website the development will create "an outstanding view of the stadium from every seat" and "an arena designed to create an exciting atmosphere," something Stamford Bridge is known for lacking. Away fans have regularly (and easily) been heard taunting, "Is this a library?" Aside from this, the new stadium will also offer "direct access to and from Fulham Broadway Station, making travel more efficient stadium facilities improved for every area."

Transport facilities will be boosted with excavation work and the addition of larger station entrances, along with new decking platforms over the District Line (underground) and the overground mainline railway services. During construction, Chelsea will either play at Wembley in North West London, or Twickenham rugby stadium which is much further West.

Capacity, however, is the club's main priority. Currently at 41,837, which is relatively meagre compared to the likes of competitive rivals Manchester United (75,731), Arsenal (60,362) and Manchester City (55,097), both the club and the fans want more. Even Newcastle United and Aston Villa who (at the time of writing) sit at the bottom of the table boast higher capacity stadia, holding 52,409 and 42,788 respectively.

Sixty thousand still seems relatively small, especially when you compare to 1935, when an attendance of 82,905 (standing) piled in to watch Chelsea vs. Arsenal. Space, though, is hard to come by in West London. Perhaps then, this will suffice, especially when you consider that Chelsea has already attempted previous avenues for expansion, notably with the Billion dollar Battersea Power Station proposal which they were pipped to by a Malaysian property developer.

Chelsea FC, so far, can claim the crown of being the only professional London club to have never relocated with Stamford Bridge being their home since 1905. Back then the prolific stadium architect, Archibald Leitch added Chelsea to his growing portfolio and later on, KSS Design group developed the stadium, essentially making it what it is today. Oddly West London neighbors and rivals Queens Park Rangers are the most nomadic football club in London, having relocated 16 times.

Other commentators have told AN that the decision is speculative one given Chelsea's recent demise in their domestic Premier League.

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OMA selected to master plan Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium–Armory Campus
Washington, D.C.'s rundown Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium–Armory Campus, home to soccer team D.C. United, is finally edging closer to redevelopment. The New York office of Rem Koolhaas' Rotterdam-based firm OMA has been commissioned to master plan the 190-acre site. The stadium, located in the Southeast quadrant of the District, boasts a significant soccer pedigree, having hosted five World Cup matches in 1994. Constructed in 1961, the RFK Memorial Stadium was famed for being one of the first multi-sport sports venues, pitched as both a baseball and soccer arena. After almost 60 years of service, the stadium is now long overdue for a facelift. The project is being overseen by Events DC and the Sports Authority for the District of Columbia. OMA will also work with management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to develop long- and short-term concepts for the future usage of the site. The project will be managed by OMA's New York office, with the intention of creating a "holistic conceptual plan" that "resonates with the surrounding community" forming axis points and public meeting points, acting as a social hub for residents. Jason Long, partner at OMA, said in a statement that the plan will seek to to play an "important role in reconnecting the city to the Anacostia waterfront.” No renderings have been released to date. OMA will seek to integrate the stadium into the 190-acre site, a vast expanse currently covered by surface-level parking lots, underutilized green spaces, and wide roadways. The windswept campus today appears eerily abandoned. “The goal of the project is to develop conceptual master plans for the entire Campus that complement the site, benefit the community, and create access points and public areas of convergence for residents and visitors” Laura Baird, associate at OMA, said in a statement. Plans and concepts for the project will be released in January 2016. The campus master plan is OMA's second commission in Washington, D.C. The firm also won a design competition, with landscape architecture firm OLIN, to build the 11th Street Bridge Park that spans the Anacostia River.The so-called "Anacostia Crossings" proposal configures the bridge into an X-shaped , multi-story linear park. According to AN's October 2014 report on the bridge, nearly $16 million had already been raised for the project, with a goal of $40 million more.
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Zaha 2, World 0: BBC apologizes to the starchitect about migrant worker death questions
After a few weeks of suffering the slings and arrows that occasionally punctuate the lives of starchitects, things are looking up for Zaha Hadid. First, the BBC issued a formal apology to her on behalf of one of its reporters, who implied that numerous construction workers on Hadid's Al Wakrah soccer stadium project had suffered fatal accidents on site. The network published a clarification, which stated that the "1,200 deaths...refers to migrant workers across the whole of Qatar across several years...We are sorry we didn't make this clear in the interview with Dame Zaha Hadid. The Qatari Government say there have been no deaths on World Cup construction sites." Zaha's second victory was perhaps even sweeter. Her Wangzing SOHO complex in Beijing won the Emporis Skyscraper Award, beating out projects by SOM, Foster + Partners, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, to name a few of the offices that submitted a total of more than 300 entries. The award recognizes structures that rise at least 100 meters (328 feet) tall.
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After nine years, MVRDV reclaims architecture’s coveted ArchiCup, beating Mecanoo, West 8, OMA, and others an the annual soccer matchup
After a seemingly never ending nine-year wait, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV finally reclaimed the ArchiCup in Rotterdam after a contentious soccer matchup. https://vimeo.com/139137485 Organized by GROUPA and Bekkering Adams Architects the competition was hosted at the Henegouwerplein in Rotterdam. Despite the questionable playing surface, MVRDV reigned victorious over bitter rivals Power House Company causing scenes of jubilation as they launched their captain into the air. Other teams included Broek Bakema, De Zwarte Hond, Hoogstad, Groosman, KCAP, Mecanoo, Nov '82, OMA, West 8, ZUS and RAVB.
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Here’s the massive water slide planned for New York City’s Summer Streets, when pedestrians take over Park Avenue
In a blatant attempt to please fun-loving New Yorkers, the city's Department of Transportation has announced that a massive Slip 'N Slide will be part of this year's Summer Streets program. The annual free event turns over Park Avenue, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, to pedestrians, cyclists, and now childhood attractions. Slide the City will be stationed at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan as part of a faux-beach orchestrated by Vita Coconut Water. The slide will stretch all of 270 feet, which makes it a pretty long slide, but is it long enough for New York? Probably not considering when Slide the City arrived in Salt Lake City last year it was a full 1,000 feet—four times longer than what New York's getting next month. A 270-foot slide is better than a zero-foot slide, sure, but come on Mr. Mayor, what gives? But Summer Streets isn't only about moderately-sized giant water slides. This year, the DOT also teamed up with Culture NOW to create self-guided public art and architecture tours. And if for some reason water slides and architecture tours aren't your thing, you can busy yourself with soccer events, a zip line, parkour training, arts and crafts workshops, and postcard decorating. Three weekend of Summer Streets are planned on August 1, 8, and 15. Check out the video below if you want to see countless Utahns sliding down their 1,000-foot-long slide, waving their selfie sticks with reckless abandon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvvoVD_5PHE
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Futbol for the People
Courtesy Gensler

The pigskin may be deflated for Gensler’s design for Los Angeles’ proposed football stadium, Farmer’s Field, but a venue for the other kind of football is alive and kicking. On May 18, Major League Soccer’s newest team, the Los Angeles Football Club, announced plans for a new soccer stadium and mixed-use complex in South Los Angeles.

Gensler’s stadium scheme replaces Welton Becket’s 1959 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which was the subject of a 2010 environmental impact report ordered by the LA Coliseum Commission to study a replacement. Demolition of the existing venue is expected to take a year and will require a significant amount of infrastructure and environmental abatement.

Gensler’s proposed soccer stadium for the Los Angeles Football Club ambitiously attempts to knit the 22,000-seat venue into the urban fabric and connect Exposition Park with the city-scale plan for the Figueroa Corridor.
 

The Coliseum Commission and the LA City Council are expected to sign off on the proposed design in July, giving a go-ahead for the estimated $250 million dollar project that includes a 22,000-seat stadium, as well as 100,000 square feet of new restaurants, office space, a conference center, and a world football museum. Plans feature outdoor site amenities, such as plazas that connect to the peristyle Coliseum and a wall of video screens ready to cater to MLS soccer and USC football fans alike.

Since this is LA’s first open-air professional sports arena built since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the design of the roof is critical. C-shaped and asymmetrical, the steel and ETFE structure extends over the bleachers all the way to the edge of the pitch to provide protection from the western sun. There’s an expectation that the curved roof will also help keep sound from spilling out into the surrounding neighborhood. The canopy’s sections are strategically positioned to frame views of Downtown Los Angeles.

 

Located in Exposition Park, the new stadium complex sits between the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Figueroa Street. According to architect Ron Turner, director of sports and entertainment for Gensler, the design addresses both the street and the park. “From Dodgers Stadium at the north end, to the Staples Center, to our site in the south, the Figueroa Corridor is quickly becoming an important boulevard of the city,” he explained.

Although the wide boulevard, which boasts the occasional strip mall and a view of the 110 Freeway, seems an unlikely candidate for renewal, Turner references the MyFigueroa project, an initiative slated to transform three miles of the Figueroa Corridor into a “complete street” with a narrowed roadbed and protected bike lanes. As he describes a design that serves the South LA community, Exposition Park visitors, and event-goers, he envisions sidewalk cafes in the shadow of the stadium that are open to the public beyond game day.

Los Angeles Football Club hopes to have the stadium completed by the 2018 Major League Soccer season. Gensler was part of the team that designed Arena Corinthians for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, however this scheme takes inspiration from the English Premier soccer league. Even with 22,000 fans, it is meant to be an intimate experience: seats close to the pitch, steep raked bleachers, and separate entrances into the stands, so that each area feels like its own club. “It’s a stadium for the people,” said Turner.

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Bjarke Ingels opens this addition to his high school with a parkour video of a kid jumping off the walls
Since Bjarke Ingels graduated from Old Hellerup High School near Copenhagen, he's obviously become a bit of an architectural sensation. But that doesn't mean Ingels is too cool for school, specifically his former high school. In 2013, the architect created an undulating recreation center for the school's central courtyard that has a ribbed, almost cathedral-like wood ceiling. At the courtyard-level, the structure forms a a man-made hill where students can hang out between classes. And that was just the start of it. https://vimeo.com/117414392 As soon as that project was completed, BIG got to work on a two-story addition for the school which just wrapped construction. The new arts building provides a connection between the snazzy recreation center and the school's soccer—er, "football"—fields. BIG said the new space is intended to mesh with its first project, but not copy it. So where the rec center is primarily concrete with some wood finishes, the new building has wooden walls and concrete floors and ceilings. The building meets the street from underneath the existing fields, which it lifts up by two stories. The building's roof extends the fields, creating a so-called "green carpet for informal activity." The result looks quite similar to Kiss + Cathcart's Bushwick Inlet Park pavilion in Brooklyn. BIG also proposed a similar trick in its Smithsonian master plan. “My high-school, formerly introverted and dispersed, has become open and integrated through two focused interventions. Even though each phase is autonomous and complete – their introduction in to the mix has completely reconfigured the sum of the parts," said Ingels in a statement. "Like a catalyst or an enzyme–once inserted–all the surrounding substance transforms into something completely new.” Since this is the Bjarke Ingels Group, the announcement of the building's completion of course comes with a flashy video (up above). So you can watch as "'free-runner" Bjarke Hellden backflips through the school.
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New HOK stadium renderings show off St. Louis for restless Rams football franchise
Missouri's football fans are savoring plans for a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis, but it remains unclear if the HOK-led designs will be enough to keep the Rams from leaving. In January fans of the St. Louis Rams got new reason to fear their football team might depart when owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build an HKS-designed 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. Twenty years after the NFL team left L.A. in the first place, they may well move back—but not if St. Louis officials and fans have their way. New renderings released in March give more substance to plans that could woo the Rams into staying: a football and soccer stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River designed by St. Louis–based HOK. The National Football League has said no team relocations will happen this year, but either stadium plan could be ready for construction in 2016. A proposal for a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis. (HOK) A proposal for a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis. (HOK) A proposal for a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis. (HOK) A proposal for a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis. (HOK)