Though the US Open has been hosted at its current complex for 50 years, the tournament itself has been going on since 1881, meaning there’s a rich backstory about where and how America’s Grand Slam has evolved. This year marked a new chapter in the tournament's history as the new Louis Armstrong Stadium opened for play, ending a five-year renovation project of the site's currently facilities. Here’s a brief history lesson in the architectural layout and legacy of the world-renowned United States Open Tennis Championships. Luckily for tennis lovers, all of these spaces are still playable today. International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island Perhaps the oldest and most prominent tennis facility in the United States, this ancestral home of the US Open welcomes players from all over the world to its historic grass courts and Victorian-style clubhouse. Formerly named the Newport Casino, the facility was designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1880 and was the center of the city’s society in its heyday. Upon opening, it hosted the first U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship in 1881. When the tournament outgrew its Newport location in 1914, it was relocated to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, eventually evolving into what we know today as the US Open. When the site was in danger of demolition in the 1950s, it was repositioned as the International Hall of Fame and later became a National Historic Landmark in 1987, preserving a shining example of American shingle-style architecture. West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York This 125-year-old tennis club was founded not long after the Newport Casino opened in Rhode Island. Established in 1892 in its original Upper West Side location, the club built out its current facilities in Forest Hills in order to accommodate its growing membership. The grounds were set within Forest Hills Gardens, a 175-acre community designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Overlooking the courts is a stunning Tudor-style clubhouse built to complement the surrounding Georgian and Tudor homes. The United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship moved the tournament to the West Side Tennis Club in 1915, where it continued every year until 1977. Today, the club boasts 38 tennis courts of varying surfaces including grass, hard, red clay, and Har-Tru, as well the 13,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium, the country’s first arena featuring a concrete facade. Today, the stadium hosts a celebrated summer music series along with other arts events. A junior Olympic-size swimming pool and paddle tennis courts are also included on site. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing, New York Located three miles north of the West Side Tennis Club, this 46.5-acre complex has been the current home of the US Open since 1978. It was initially called the USTA National Tennis Center but was later rededicated in 2006 to women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King. The campus is set within Flushing Meadows–Corona Park and today features 33 courts including three mega-arenas: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the Grandstand. The latter two structures exclusively held the Open matches until Ashe was built in 1977. After rain delays majorly halted play during from 2008 to 2012, the USTA created a master plan to rebrand and solidify the entire complex ahead of the tournament’s 50th anniversary in 2018. This $600 million overhaul included demolishing the 54-year-old Armstrong Stadium, which was originally constructed as the Singer Bowl for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. A new, 14,000-seat structure was built from scratch in its place, opening this summer just in time for play. The multi-year renovation project, led by Detroit-based firm ROSSETTI, also included a new show court for the 8,000-seat Grandstand featuring a translucent skin that wraps around the facility. Most notably, two new PTFE retractable roofs now top Armstrong and the 23,771-seat Ashe Stadium where the major matches are held. The flexible roofing systems, which can open and close in five to seven minutes, now allow games to go on rain or shine.
Posts tagged with "sports architecture":
Tennis courts may be universally designed in the same way, but their topographic location can change the entire look and feel of playing the great game. In honor of the US Open, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s most architecturally impressive courts. From the ever-imaginative buildings within the United Arab Emirates to the secret spaces of Paris, these amazing athletic facilities placed in unbelievable settings feature inspired designs that date from present day, all the way back to the late 19th century. Take a scroll and let your sporty side roam around the globe with these ace spaces: The Couch, Amsterdam, The Netherlands The IJburg Tennis Club near Amsterdam houses 10 clay courts, a tennis school, and a temporary communal building with integrated rooftop seating designed by Dutch firm MVRDV. Acting as a giant piece of street furniture, the red-sprayed concrete structure features a curvaceous roof that dips down towards ground level on the south side, while the north side rises 23 feet high, allowing for bleacher-like seating overlooking the courts. The wood-clad interior boasts ample natural light thanks to wide glass that spans the front and south sides of the building. Burj Al Arab Tennis Court, Dubai, U.A.E. Twelve years ago, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer held an exhibition on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab, the third tallest hotel in the world. Designed by Tom Wright of WKK Architects, the structure stands like the sail of a ship at 1,053 feet tall. The helipad covers 4,467 square feet of space and a grass court was laid out across it for this one-time match. Since its completion, the site has been home to other iconic sports moments: Golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy teed off of the helipad in separate years while Formula One racecar driver David Coulthard performed donuts on the surface in 2013. Dubai could also soon build the world’s first underwater tennis complex off its coast in the Persian Gulf, a vision by Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala, founder of 8+8 Studio. La Cavalerie Tennis Club, Paris Set on the sixth floor of an art deco building with an Aston Martin dealership at its base, this hidden tennis club sports weathered wood paneling and a dramatic, honeycomb-style arched roof. The building itself, designed by famous French architect R. Farradèche in 1924, includes a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower which can be seen from the balconies of the club. The hard court was established as a national monument in 1986 and features 1,400 pieces of wood that shape the parabolic interior design. Astor Courts, Rhinebeck, New York This private tennis pavilion is situated within the historic upstate guesthouse and casino of John Jacob Astor IV. Designed in 1902 by Stanford White, the indoor and outdoor sports complex included squash courts, a bowling alley, a shooting range, and an indoor swimming pool. It was designed in the style of the Grand Trianon, a château found at Versailles in France. After being purchased by its current owner in 2003 for over $3 million, PBDW Architects rehabilitated the 20,000-square-foot mansion where Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky were married in 2010. Infinity Court, Los Angeles, California Located at the John Lautner-designed Sheats-Goldstein House, this seemingly floating tennis court provides spectacular, sweeping views of Los Angeles. The house is currently owned by the colorful real estate investor, NBA lover, and fashion designer James Goldstein and was recently acquired by the L.A. County Museum of Art as its first-ever architectural acquisition. When Goldstein bought the property in 1972, he began working with Lautner on several updates and additions to the house. The on-site, infinity-edge court was designed atop a three-level entertainment complex built in collaboration with Lautner’s colleague. It features a glass partition barely visible from the other side of the outdoor space. Tennis Courts at the SLS Lux, Miami, Florida Arquitectonica’s design for the just-completed SLS Lux Brickell Hotel and Residences in South Beach includes a multi-use sports center atop the ninth floor of the 57-story tower. Tennis courts, a rock climbing wall, as well as spaces for volleyball, basketball, and more, allow the residents of the building’s 450 luxury condos, 12 penthouses, and 84 hotel rooms an opportunity for ample play. The base of the building features a colorful, 40,000-square-foot mural on its exterior by Fabian Burgos, a world-renowned Argentinian artist who creates optical designs for architecture. Vanderbilt Tennis and Fitness Club, New York City, New York Since the 1960s, a secret has existed within the walls of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal: It houses a secluded tennis club. For over ten years, city dwellers could pay to play at the original Vanderbilt Athletic Club, founded by Hungarian athlete and refugee Geza Gazdag. The club housed two clay courts and a 65-foot indoor ski slope built on the third-floor Annex of the train depot. Since Gazdag was priced out of his lease, the coveted piece of real estate began a fraught history of ownership. Donald Trump took it over for three decades, turning it into an elite club for the city’s wealthiest tennis fans. Once his lease ran out in 2009, the space became a lounge for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and new courts were built on the fourth floor where current owner Anthony Scholnick manages the facility.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) teamed up with Landscape Forms to redesign the courtside furniture that takes center stage during the upcoming two-week tournament. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) unveiled its sleek new “courtscape” earlier this week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, Queens. The new furniture, a collection featuring seating for the players, umpires, and line judges, as well as a “cooler corral,” is part of the US Open’s major rebranding effort. Not only were the designs created to maximize ease of use for those on the court, they speak to the organization’s goal of making a modern, iconic look for the tournament and its New York location. Before crafting the collection, MGA&D met with everyone involved in the US Open from players to officials, fans, sponsors, broadcast partners, and tech crews. Through their research, the design team concluded that the furniture must address three primary goals: visibility, usability, and functionality. As inspiration for the design, they took nods from the landscape of New York City such as its park benches (seen in the player’s seating) and the cantilevered balconies found on buildings (seen on the umpire stand). MGA&D used virtual reality technology to help USTA stakeholders realize their vision. The team then worked with Michigan-based Landscape Forms, who specializes in high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting, on the engineering and manufacturing of the collection. The group’s custom division, Studio 431, created seating products with thin profiles and graceful curves using perforated steel and aluminum surfaces as the primary materials. These lightweight but durable products are now prominently featured on four of the show courts at the tennis center in Queens. Donald Strum, MGA&D principal of product design, helped lead the project. He said this unique opportunity to create a courtscape for the USTA was one of the most satisfying projects he’s ever worked on. “Seating should express utility, be comfortable, and carry a beautiful personality as well,” said Strum in a statement. “The various performance requirements of this collection made the project endlessly fascinating.” All the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be outfitted with the new furniture next year ahead of the 2019 championship.
It’s no secret that Nike has an eye for design. From advertising to athletic wear to sports equipment and more, the company’s signature style has mass appeal and is easy to spot, but it's easy to forget the company's knack for creating serious interior design. Nike’s new New York headquarters, completed last year by its Workplace Design + Connectivity team in collaboration with Studios Architecture, got global attention for its slick look, but the brand’s newly built-out basketball space in Chicago is just as impressive. The Just Do It HQ, a basketball facility set inside a church dating to 1885, is quite glorious. Nike transformed the Church of Epiphany in Chicago’s West Loop into a state-of-the-art cultural hub and a home for a youth summer training program. Throughout August, Nike will host camps for young athletes and offer interactive youth workshops, pro athlete appearances, and skills clinics. The space itself is a modern and bold design outfitted with a basketball court, sports gym, and locker room. Nike added a color scheme of blue, orange, and white that runs throughout the three programs and created stained glass windows with basketballs carved into the center. Arched, metal frames were also placed in front of windows in certain places, diffusing the light and further connecting the gritty theme found throughout the aged church. The stained glass basketball design is also painted at the center of the court. Other contextual elements kept throughout the facility include the open, vaulted ceilings as well as the arched doorways and shelves. Nike’s Just Do it HQ is open Monday through Saturday throughout the end of this month. Kids can sign up to participate in the camps by registering online.
Houston is a city that revels in the intersection of event and space—it certainly has an abundance of both. Adjacent to one of Houston’s meandering and often overflowing bayous in what was once an empty lot turned parking lot, Sideout Volleybar responds to the city's social pressures and urban conditions. This volleyball social club opened in the Northside neighborhood in June 2017 and combines casual sports, bright lights, and beer. AN contributor Jack Murphy and I decided to do a bit of participant observation on a recent Wednesday and headed over for burgers and beer. Sideout has three courts lined on two sides by a covered observation porch along with a bar house, a bean bag toss court, a dog area, and a food truck parked outside. “It’s like an athletic Ice House,” Jack observed, referring to the open-air beer joints that have long dotted the city. The comparison to the classic Houston outdoor bar is apt in that everything feels so provisional, as if the wood-framed decks could quickly be dismantled and the carpet of sand rolled up if business got too slow. The bar itself is not much more than a converted bungalow with a slab of wood in the space once occupied by the living room sofa. There was an effort to cover every surface with some choice of bright yellow, millennial pink, or a color I can only describe as greenish. The lighting is simply the parking lot pylons poking out of the sandy courts, which were installed on top of the parking lot surface, like a Houston version of “Sous les pavés, la plage!” This particular evening was both a trivia night and a league night, so the jarring patter of trivia questions layered over the chatter of various teams on the courts, all atop the soundtrack of greatest hits from the early 1990’s. The music of 311 was on heavy rotation. It was a ball. Sideout is a bar for beach volleyball and this seemed simple enough. The venue calls itself a “volleybar,” but the place is alive with activity: What we discovered was a veritable volleybar ball. “I think we are in the 1 percent of people not wearing an obnoxious league shirt,” Jack comments. The team players wear generic loose-fitting league T-shirts, distributed by Houston Sports & Social Club. For expediency, the graphics on every shirt are the same, so the 20-odd teams are differentiated by a range of colors that evokes a middle-school summer day camp. What is illustrative to the architect in this situation is that what is happening is really an event-based urban choreography. Houston is a city of unparalleled diversity with very few circumstances that allow for the public to appear together—but here, people come in droves. By our rough count, there must have been nearly 200 players at any given time in the complex: trivia sharks, volleyball players, dog-walkers, and even a few just plain barflies. I can’t help but imagine the league T-shirts as some type of Situationist uniform à la Constant’s Homo Ludens. Will Thomas, one of Sideout’s owners and a local musician, cited many of the Tex-Mex establishments of his youth and their “organic informality” as his inspiration for the place. Thomas is a partner in W2 Development, a company responsible for many of the recent commercial developments in the neighborhood. Nearby, there is a new metro light rail stop, the White Oak Music Hall, designed by Schaum/Shieh, a dramatic bridge over a river (a bayou, upscaled), and a hike and bike trail in the works, all set in a loose assemblage that doesn’t quite amount to an urban system until you see it activated through its events. Whether it’s an outdoor concert, a cinema screening, or, of course, league night at the Volleybar, each time you visit, you might find yourself in what feels like a different city. If you don’t mind the sartorial constraints of the league T-shirt and would enjoy the feeling of standing at the center of a sociality you can’t quite perceive the edges of, then come over to the Sideout Volleybar. If bumping, setting, or spiking isn’t your thing, then at least you will find a unique place to imbibe and watch the sun set against the Houston skyline.
Move over Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Rays are the latest Floridian sports franchise to build big. The baseball team announced last week that it would be pursuing plans for an ambitious, $892 million ballpark in Tampa designed by Populous, but details of how the team would pay for the project are still scarce. Tropicana Field, the Rays’ current home in neighboring St. Petersburg, is the MLB’s smallest and the Rays frequently measure dead last in average home field attendance rates. The Rays have conceded a new stadium isn’t technically necessary, but they want to use the new scheme to drum up attendance and enthusiasm. The stadium has been proposed for downtown Tampa’s nationally landmarked Ybor City district, about 20 miles from Tropicana Field. Despite the price tag, the new ballpark would remain the smallest in the league and only seat approximately 30,000, about the same as the Rays’ current home. Capacity isn’t the potential ball park’s draw; that lies in the location and more exciting design. The proposed ballpark’s most distinctive features are the dramatic tilt and swoop of the roofline and the non-retractable glass dome that would enclose the field, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s Dodger Dome. The structural cross-bracing on the underside of the translucent dome would resemble a coffered ceiling when seen from below. Clear glass panels would rise closer to the outfield and meet the lip of the dome as it wrapped around the building. A massive sunshade has been proposed for the backside of the roof, where most of the seating would be. The glass ceiling alone is projected to cost around 30 percent of the project’s nearly $900 million budget. The Rays would also create a multi-level retail podium around the ballpark’s base, with the field itself sitting in the middle and anchoring the development. The buildings at ground level would feature sliding glass walls capable of retracting during nicer weather. The principal owner of the Rays, Stuart Sternberg, explained to the Chicago Tribune that the move was part of the team’s attempt at leaving a legacy in Tampa, which is why the new plan bucks what might be expected of a stadium proposal. The team has admitted that the renderings are, in part, designed to drum up public and private investment in the new stadium. The team will reportedly contribute anywhere from $150 to $400 million to the project depending on whether they can secure a naming rights purchase, but taxpayers could ultimately be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in bond debt depending on how a deal shapes up. The Rays are aiming to open the field in time for the 2023 season.
The 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. may have already passed, but the MLB Assembly, a weeklong collection of art, architecture, fashion, and food projects centered around baseball, is worth revisiting. New York-based Snarkitecture contributed to the Assembly, which ran from July 13 through July 16, with their Field installation. Visitors to the Wharf’s District Pier were greeted with a rising forest of baseball bats supported on white plinths and arranged into four diamonds that referenced the layout of a baseball field. At the beginning of Field’s four-day installation, 1,100 baseball bats were mingled with 200 billets, or unfinished raw wood cylinders. A woodturner was stationed in a booth behind the installation and using a lathe, they converted the billets into fresh bats. The project was envisioned as an interactive exhibition, where visitors would enter the rising arrangement of baseball bats and uncover the performance on the other side. Field was constantly evolving and on the last day of the exhibition, the billets had all been swapped out for finished bats. Field was not the only immersive Snarkitecture installation available to those in D.C. Fun House, the sprawling 10-year retrospective of the firm’s work, is on display in the lobby of the National Building Museum for the rest of the summer, and the same sense of spontaneity brought to Field permeates that show.
The new Gensler-designed Banc of California Stadium opened for its inaugural Major League Soccer season in late April, ushering in Los Angeles’s first new open-air sports and entertainment venue since the debut of Dodgers Stadium in 1962. The 22,000-seat arena is designed with intimacy in mind: No seat in the stadium is farther than 135 feet from the field, with those closest sitting just 12 feet from the action. The arrangement of steeply raked seating and close proximity to the game is meant to create a closer connection between players and fans in the manner of European-style gameplay, according to Gensler.
The buoyant-looking complex is built on a concrete base and is topped by slender, 45-foot-tall steel section canopies. Draped between these structural elements are 190,000 square feet of translucent ETFE fabric to provide cover from L.A.’s sometimes brutal sun while still allowing enough sunlight through so that grass can grow on the pitch. The complex—chock-full of pedestrian-oriented plazas, viewing and celebration terraces, and restaurants—connects directly to newly landscaped areas designed by Studio-MLA.
Banc of California Stadium 3939 S Figueroa Street Los Angeles Tel: 323-648-6060 Architect: Gensler
The Texas Rangers will move to an HKS-designed new stadium in Arlington by 2020. The new venue, Globe Life Field, will hold 41,000 seats and a 1.7 million-square-feet ballpark. It will be home to games ranging from high school and college sporting events to professional, international games. The $1.1-billion baseball park broke ground in September 2017 and is now under construction. When completed, Globe Life Field will join the Texas Live! entertainment district as a new destination for entertainment tours. Taking into consideration the hot climate of the state, HKS introduced climate-controlling infrastructure, including the massive retractable roof that would open and close depending on the weather. The design aims to improve the comfort of watching games, with wider seats and varied front-row seating design. Two concourse rings allow for easy circulation. Restrooms and concessions are receded from the seating bowl to avoid the obstruction of views. HKS designed the plaza-facing north wall with a mixture of 18 brick, Texas limestone, granite arches filled with curtain walls in between. People will be able to walk on the corridor underneath the arches, which is the main concourse, and look down onto the plaza on one side and the game on the other. The design of a large plaza and multi-level landscape outside the stadium was inspired by Texas farmhouse porches. The project also borrowed elements from other ballparks, paying tribute to the neighboring, old Globe Life Park by using arches. It also referenced other local arch-sporting landmarks, such as the historic Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo in San Antonio and the Kahn-designed Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.
As preparations and celebrations unfurl for the 2018 FIFA World Cup kick-off in Russia tomorrow, AN has rounded up our favorite up-and-coming projects (and new sports venues) across the country. From James Bond-esque houses and parachute-themed neighborhoods to massive new developments, Russia has provided a playground for high-profile firms to experiment with new forms. Below are some of the wildest and most ambitious projects announced or completed recently, including the venues for the games themselves: Silhouette Location: Moscow MVRDV The modular Silhouette was the result of a design competition that concluded in January of this year and will serve as a “gateway to Moscow” once completed. The 256-foot-tall, mixed-use complex contains a bit of everything—luxury apartments on the top floors and a roof terrace, offices, a sports center, and a grocery store at its base. The pixelated tower block will be clad in a red ceramic tile, and the form takes cues from abstractions of Moscow’s skyline and the constructivist Ministry of Agriculture building across the street. The extrusions and sculptural cuts at the building’s base were carefully planned to create an inviting presence at ground level. Tuschino District Residential Development Location: Moscow Steven Holl Architects and Kamen Steven Holl Architects and Kamen Architecture Art-Group have proposed a new “Parachute Hybrids” typology for their residential development in Moscow’s Tushino district. Drawing inspiration from the site’s history as a former paratrooper airfield, the vertically-oriented slabs and horizontal bases have been run through with circular cuts reminiscent of parachutes drifting through the sky. Tushino will offer residences of every type and target every income bracket, while a new kindergarten and elementary school will serve residents in the development. “Tushino can be an important urban model for 21st century high density living, shaping public open space,” said Steven Holl. “The new building type we have proposed here, inspired by the site’s history, is unique to this place.” Capital Hill Residence Location: Moscow Zaha Hadid Architects The recently completed Capital Hill Residence was the only private house designed by Hadid herself, and the towering form bears all of the late architect’s signature biomorphic curves. Rising above the tree line of the Moscow’s Barvikha Forest like an emerging submarine, the house’s prominent “mast” seemingly floats 72 feet above the landscape and provides sweeping views. The building’s base gradually tapers into the earth below and provides a private area for the homeowner to retreat to. The organic shape of the concrete and dramatic change in elevation is meant to give viewers the impression of something fast-moving and fluid. Admiral Serebryakov Embankment master plan Location: Novorossiysk Zaha Hadid Architects and Pride TPO (Moscow) ZHA will be responsible for revitalizing nearly 35 acres of coastal neighborhood along the Black Sea in Novorossiysk at Russia’s largest port. Residents can expect new opportunities for outdoor leisure activities on the Black Sea, a new port, marina, new piers, and a weaving of the new areas into the city’s existing urban. The master plan will also bring nine new buildings to the waterfront, each representing a different stage in a sequential iterative design, creating a sweeping, wave-like skyline in the process. The one million square feet of new space will be used for a hotel, civic and conference spaces, and offices. The project is moving quickly, and construction on the first phase will begin in the second half of 2019. Ekaterinburg Arena Location: Yekaterinburg PI Arena (2015-2017 renovation) Originally built in 1956 as the multi-sport Central Stadium, Ekaterinburg Arena was recently renovated in 2011. Although it was modernized, the arena’s 20,000-seat capacity meant that another round of work would be needed to bring the arena up to FIFA’s 35,000 seat minimum. Another renovation took place in 2015 that saved the building’s historic facade and increased the stadium's capacity, but temporary seating to bring the arena’s capacity up to 45,000 seats was still needed, and has been installed behind both goal areas for the four World Cup games being played there. Volgograd Arena Location: Volgograd Sport-Engineering A spiraling lattice swirls around the base of Volgograd Arena, one of the stadiums built for this year’s World Cup. The project was built on a budget, but the exposed superstructure, squat single-piece form, and colorful cable roof makes it architecturally distinct from many of the Soviet-era venues made from concrete. After the World Cup, Volgograd Arena will have its seating capacity reduced down to 35,000 and the stadium will become the new home of local football club Rotor Volgograd. Nizhny Novgorod Stadium Location: Nizhny Novgorod OAO Stroytransgaz A light and airy stadium at the fork of two rivers, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium was designed with elements of air and water in mind. The white-and-blue color palette and spacious use of columns to create open-air areas helps lend the stadium a feeling of openness. At night, the building emanates light from the top and sides through its semi-transparent facade. The stadium was commissioned for the 2018 World Cup and was completed last year. The building boasts a 45,000-seat capacity and will be handed over to football club Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod after the World Cup is over.
Plans for the $1.3 billion gothic revamp of British soccer team Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London have been shelved, according to a cryptic message posted on the club’s website citing “the current unfavourable investment climate.” First revealed in 2015, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed stadium would have replaced Chelsea’s current field along with the surrounding buildings, and put up a 60,000-seat replacement in its stead. Initially pegged as a $664 million project, costs rose as delays and lawsuits from homeowners and businesses who would be in the new stadium’s shadow mounted. The stadium’s defining feature (aside from the 20,000 new seats, all of which were promised unobstructed views) would have been the 264 brick buttresses ringing the field. The arches would form a covered loggia around the stadium’s central pitch, and supported a steel ring above the field, providing the structural supports for the additional seats, shops, a museum, and a restaurant. Both the brickwork as well as the black, wrought-iron detailing are less-than-subtle references to vernacular British architecture; Herzog & de Meuron described the vaulting design as a “cathedral of football.” The Guardian paints a more comprehensive picture of why the project was put on hold. Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian-Israeli businessman, has found himself caught in the crossfire of the worsening relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia. Abramovich has found himself unable to renew his investor visa, and as the delays mounted, the billionaire expressed frustration at the idea of investing in a country that was delaying his ability to do business. While Abramovich would still be allowed to stay in Britain, he technically wouldn’t be able to do any work there. AN will update this story as more information becomes available.
The city of Arlington, Texas has put forward plans to build the country’s largest eSports stadium, announcing the move today in a joint statement with global architecture studio Populous and Esports Venues, LLC. If everything goes as planned, the Arlington Convention Center will be converted into a 100,000-square-foot, eSports-exclusive arena rebranded as Esports Stadium Arlington. While eSports are rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S., high-profile events have typically been held in established sports venues and lack the dedicated destination stadiums that their more physical counterparts can claim. Populous is known for its more traditional sports architecture projects, but the collaboration makes sense, especially as the firm released a proposal for a speculative “esports venue of the future” at 2017’s South by Southwest (SXSW). Through a $10 million investment, Arlington and Esports Venues will transform the convention center into a new stadium that can seat up to 1,000 spectators. The transformed stadium will also hold gaming, retail and social spaces, as well as a broadcast studio and VIP hospitality areas. Besides being the country’s largest eSports venue (Blizzard had launched their own smaller project in October of last year), Populous and Arlington are pitching the new stadium as a model of adaptive reuse that other convention centers and stadiums around the country can follow. Arlington is banking on the growth of eSports to fuel demand at the new location, as the funding for the project is expected to be paid through event revenue, naming rights and lease payments from Esports Venues. It’s not a dangerous wager, either, as the value of the global esports industry is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020, and dedicated eSports venues have been popping up across South Korea and China for years. Designing an eSports stadium does present a few unique opportunities, according to Brian Mirakian, senior principal at Populous, especially as matches could potentially run for several hours at a time. “Because of the length of the event, the way that we see the concourse environments in traditional venues is mainly for circulation. We see the concourse as more of a place for social migration and entertainment,” Mirakian told AN. “Sightlines are very different in esports events, and fans want to be higher up in the seating bowl instead of closer to the stage so they can see the screen more clearly. The demographic is different, the demands are different, and the premium experiences are different.” Esports Stadium Arlington is expected to open later this year.