OJB Landscape Architecture’s (OJB) ambitious vision for America’s largest BMX venue opened earlier this month in Houston. Located near the Bush Intercontinental Airport on the site of a former wastewater treatment plant, the Rock Star Energy Bike Park features a massive bike track and public recreation space, spanning a total of 23 acres just north of the city. “This one-of-a-kind park is a keystone to a redeveloping neighborhood in Houston,” said Chip Trageser, managing principal and project design director at OJB in a statement. “The design balances different types of experiences, from the novice to expert rider, to the visitor, or sport spectator.” The design gives equal weight to the various types of competitive bike racing. OJB integrated a Supercross Track, a 27,000-square-foot Pump Track, and a 13,000-square-foot Dirt Jump Track across the park. There's also an 18,000-square-foot urban riding plaza that's outfitted with trick fixtures, as well as 25,000-square-feet of concrete bike bowls, and a tot-track for super young riders. A central promenade runs along the spine of the park so visitors can get from one distinct zone to the other while a bike trail encircles the entire site. In time, the extreme sports destination will be shaded by 400 towering trees that OJB planted through several years of construction. The other 400 trees on-site were preserved from the original plot—a necessary design move to mitigate the Texas heat, according to Trageser. "We wanted to put the forest back and make the different tracks feel like they were part of a series of rooms throughout one big natural space," he said. Built out by the Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority (now known as the Northeastern Development Corporation), the $25 million, large-scale activities park also includes four structures. At one end, local firm Brett Zamore Design created a 2,500-square-foot welcome center, as well as the larger BMX Center, which houses restrooms, a classroom, concessions area, and office space. The latter structure serves as the base of the starting ramps on the main track. Next door, an events space and observation deck looks out over the third turn on the course. On the opposite end of the park, EndreStudio designed a small pavilion that feeds visitors into the large event lawn in the center of the site, as well as the 223-foot-long wooden bridge that leads bikers and visitors over the bowls. According to Trageser, one of the most surprising ways bikers use the bridge is by incorporating its thick concrete columns into their trick elements. "I feel like this is what the park's going to be known for," he said. "The most memorable moment for me when the bike opened was when I saw these BMX professionals do these crazy tricks off the edges." Rock Star Energy Bike Park is seamlessly attached to the North Houston Skate Park, a 13-acre urban landscape also designed by OJB. It’s dually the largest of its kind in the U.S. and hosts major skate competitions all year long. OJB's construction manager Scott Blons told AN that when the park was completed in 2015, there was an outcry from the local BMX community, which was banned from using the skating facility. "Those two courses, of course, don't mix with one another," said Blons. "So that triggered the start of our work on the BMX park." The entire site sits in a major flood zone next to the North Fork of the Greens Bayou, so OJB integrated a series of sustainable design elements to combat a potential deluge. Permeable pavement was used across all 3.5 acres of the two parking lots on-site, while stormwater detention capabilities were also integrated into the event lawn, rain gardens, and bike bowls, among other places. "There's a substantial amount of hardscaping in the park that can handle water overflow," said Blons. "Flooding is a big deal nowadays so it was important for us to think about this from the beginning." According to OJB, Rock Star Energy Park has already gotten major buzz. It's set to hold major BMX competitions starting next month with the Texas state championship and then U.S. Nationals in October and in April of next year. In May, it will present the 2020 UCI BMX World Championships, which is the last qualifier for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo. But it's not just the international community that will profoundly benefit from the new park. Local schools are set to visit, and STEM programs are being created to teach kids how to design and build BMX tracks, said Blons. "Even my kid is now a BMX rider. The CEO of USA BMX once told me that people are now tearing down baseball fields left and right to build these parks, which speaks to their popularity." Though the park is free to use and inclusive to everyone no matter age or ability, perhaps the most important aspect of the park's existence is its location. Situated in the lower-income neighborhood of Greater Greenspoint, the park is an investment in the future economic development of its underserved population, according to Trageser. The city is prone to flooding and lacks substantial infrastructure. "The project has the potential to score growth in this area and truly give back to the community," he said. "We worked really hard to get to know the people who'd use this park and tried to translate their passion into a physical form that would be exciting for all."
Posts tagged with "Sports Venues":
Brought to you with support fromDesigned with community and connectivity in mind, Populous has recently completed an amphitheater and flex field adjacent to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ professional football stadium. The project, named Daily’s Place, is the first amphitheater integrated with an NFL stadium in the country. With the grounds of the stadium active only a handful of times per year, the project is a response to a desire to activate the stadium area beyond football season with training events, concerts, festivals, and more. Two column-free large event spaces—composed of more than 80-percent fabric and steel—were delivered under a close collaboration between design and engineering teams. The entire facility is covered under one all-encompassing PTFE roof system manufactured by advanced polymer technology company Saint-Gobain. The composite membrane, called SHEERFILL, is made of fiberglass and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) typically used as a permanent tensioned membrane structure in sports, transportation, retail, and specialty markets. Design, engineering and fabrication teams used the software in an unconventional way to blur the lines between design and detailing with construction and fabrication modeling. Populous consulted with Walter P. Moore, an international A/E firm, who provided envelope and facade engineering expertise. Erik Verboon, Principal at Walter P. Moore, said the project was very fast pacing, involving a "fluid" digital process. "This could have only been completed under a close collaboration with Populous and a digital workflow that we both harnessed." Design and construction models were shared back and forth between the design and engineering teams, involving an iterative series or Rhino and Grasshopper models. While Populous managed the formal strategy of the project, Walter P. Moore worked through model analysis and optimization that involved engineering and form-finding techniques. The facade involves a series of "V" shaped perimeter columns set inboard from the exterior envelope. The materiality of the skin began as polycarbonate panels, but evolved into an open mesh PTFE fabric to save steel tonnage that the smaller more rigid polycarbonate panels would have required. Above, an undulating roof of Daily’s Place passively cools the interior of the facility by controlling air movement. The resulting “roofscape” integrates LED lighting to highlight its wavelike form, introducing a customizable aesthetic element that can be adjusted dependent on programming. As a result of the scheduling of the project, ordering of the steel framework was on a critical path, however, the sizing and detailing of the steel was highly dependent upon the configuration of the PTFE fabric. Due to this, Verboon said the engineering of the system relied on "coupled models" which dynamically take both structural requirements of the PTFE fabric and steel framing into consideration, producing an optimized, efficient design. "The steel was based on loads of the fabric, and the fabric was based on the geometry of the steel. The two materials were intrinsically linked." (Courtesy Populous).One of the most challenging aspects of the detailing of the building envelope was the location of the roof membrane, which sits below long span trusses. The positioning of the membrane produced translucent ghosted effect, softening the visual impact of the structure, but resulted in detailing challenges with necessary penetrations from steel rail supports and the perimeter structure. At these columns, a unique "top hat" detail, involving a circular flange surrounding a steel drum, developed to ensure a watertight connection.
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.
Are you ready for some football stadiums? Los Angeles gets even more proposals for its yet-unsecured NFL team
Just when we thought Los Angeles' football stadium craziness had cooled down, the owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have unveiled plans for a 72,000 seat, $1.7 billion stadium on a 168-acre site in Carson—which should soon be on that city's ballot—while Inglewood City Council approved a measure to build a stadium for the (for now) St. Louis Rams, originally floated by Rams' owner Stan Kroenke. The firm behind the Carson stadium, MANICA Architecture, is also designing a new arena for the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco's Mission Bay. The architect of the Rams' stadium is HKS. That office's plan would include an 80,000 seat stadium and a 6,000 seat performance venue, both part of a mixed-use development on the site of Hollywood Park. Showing how serious it is about moving an NFL team to LA, the NFL has launched a "Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities," to "oversee the application of the relocation guidelines in the event that one or more clubs seek to move to Los Angeles. A half-dozen Southern California stadium proposals have been pitched in the past three years, although only the two most recent are attached to specific teams. Other proposals have been suggested for City of Industry, Downtown LA, Elysian Park, the Rose Bowl, and the Los Angeles Coliseum. The NFL has not had a team in Los Angeles since the Rams and Raiders both left after the 1994 season.
After years of, ahem, false starts, it's looking very possible that the NFL will be returning to Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres next to the Forum in Inglewood last year, has announced plans to build an HKS-designed 80,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue as part of the 300-acre Hollywood Park site. He's teaming up with Stockbridge Capital Group on what's being labeled the "City of Champions" Revitalization Project. Stockbridge is now building a mixed-use development there with developer Wilson Meany and designers Mia Lehrer + Associates, Hart Howerton Architects & Planners, BCV Architects, SWA, and others. The Rams left Los Angeles in 1994, while the Raiders took off for Oakland the next year, leaving the city teamless for almost two decades. Kroenke has been outspoken about his unhappiness with his club's current stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, and St. Louis is expected to give the owner a new offer by the end of this month. If that doesn't pan out, the new stadium (and the surrounding "City of Champions" Revitalization Project) could be on the Inglewood ballot later this year, and the scheme could be complete by 2018. Inglewood recently reopened the Forum, so momentum is building. Meanwhile efforts for stadiums in Downtown LA and City of Industry remain on hold until another team steps in.
Nike has covered a basketball court in Shanghai with LED sensors and the result looks like a live-action video game. The court is called the “House of Mamba”—not to be confused with the new “House of Vans” in London—and it's topped with reactive sensors that track players' every move. The House is part of Nike’s “Rise Campaign,” which the company described as “the first social basketball documentary drama in Greater China to inspire young people with a passion for basketball.” The House opened this summer with an appearance by Kobe Bryant, for whom the stadium gets its named—“House of Mamba” plays off Bryant’s nickname “Black Mamba.” Gizmag has a helpful breakdown of how exactly this court works: “It has a wooden base layer platform to provide a natural bounce, followed by a layer of over a thousand 2 x 2 ft (0.6 x 0.6 m) interlaced LED screens, a layer of thick glass on top of the screens and an adhesive basketball surface that provides bounce and grip covering the glass layer.”
San Jose Mercury News columnist (and frequent AN contributor) Alan Hess took on HNTB's Levi's Stadium, the new $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hess compares the "starkly utilitarian," 68,500 seat stadium to Silicon Valley's high tech environments, and even to its high-end gadgets. The building "translates the high-def experience of a game we see on TV—the roaring crowd, the superhuman action of the players, the intense color of the grass under the TV-studio lighting, the camaraderie of loyal 49ers fans celebrating (or commiserating) en masse—into an enormous three-dimensional architectural spectacle," Hess wrote. Innovations include club seats (including 170 luxury suites) separated from the rest of the stadium bowl (and a lacy steel skeleton) to bring everybody closer to the field; food service via every smartphone; and a variety of viewing environments, including nine clubs. Of course it's all located inside Santa Clara's Great America Parkway, a "multiuse city of workplaces, entertainment, theme parks, convention center, schools and hotels, stitched together with light rail and cars." Other outlets seem to be equally impressed, at least with the stadium's novelty and gizmos. Time magazine called the stadium the "most high tech sports stadium yet," illustrating partnerships with tech companies like Sony, giant LED displays in both end zones, and wifi and 4G access for all fans. USA Today called it "massive and luxurious," a shiny new antidote to "grungy" Candlestick Park, the Niners' former home, with its "wide concourses and expansive views of the South Bay." And SFist, a little bothered by the lack of shade, liked the solar panels that will power the stadium for all of its home games. But the same reporter, Daisy Barringer, had an interesting comment. Unlike Candlestick Park, which had a decidedly unique mid-century character (and flaws), the new stadium feels a little more, well, normal. "It's just another NFL stadium," said Barringer. Click here for a live view of the stadium.
James Carpenter, the world-renowned architect who has left his mark on projects like New York City's Millennium Tower, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and others, recently revealed his latest work, Light Veil, at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Cotton Bowl Public Art Project, a $25.5 million endeavor aimed at revamping the stadium, included a contest that Carpenter won out for equipping the stadium with a new facade. Carpenter’s design relies on the sole use of hanging mesh ribbons whose delicate strength elicits an ethereal effect. The facade is constructed out of uniformly spaced thin mesh ribbons, 2 feet wide and 50 feet long, that weigh in at a slight 80 pounds. Up close, the strong parallel lines impress with their connotations of durability, reliability, and uprising power—positive associate qualities for any sports stadium. From a distance, however, the impact is wholly different yet just as impressive. The ribbon’s interact with natural sunlight to create a shimmering front, hence the aptly named Light Veil. Some writers have dubbed Carpenter’s treatment as “gift-wrapped.” The phrase keys into the fact that the design’s simple elegance delivers a surprise no matter which way you turn. Carpenter’s work delights in the interplay between light and glass, and could be considered a signature trait of his work. “The brighter a material gets, the more solid it feels,” Carpenter has said, thereby highlighting the underlying paradox of the Cotton Bowl’s new face: how basic structural elements solidify the intangible in a very real way. The Cotton Bowl Project included adding more club seats, concession stands, and general clean up. The veil, which cost $8 million to complete and comes third or fourth in a trend of mesh facades, allows the audience to more fully experience the interplay between the sporting event, the stadium’s interior, and the city beyond.
Rome is home to what is likely the most iconic example of sport architecture on the planet. The Colosseum is a distant precedent for the design of most stadiums, but Woods Bagot has chosen to make the connection explicit in their new project for local soccer club AS Roma. The international firm has unveiled their vision for a new, more centrally located venue set to open at the start of the 2016–2017 season. Stadio Della Roma is a 52,500 seat stadium designed explicitly with the concept of home-field (pitch if you're in Europe) advantage in mind. The building features a tightly wrapped seating bowl and a steeply-pitched, explicitly-delineated Curva Sud section for the club's "ultras" or most ravenous supporters. Ancestral inspirations manifest themselves in the form of a circular opening and a floating stone screen that envelops the structure and rewrites the curves of the arches of the Colosseum in a sharper, more angular vocabulary. The scheme also calls for a large hydraulic elevator system that consciously or unconsciously nods to another Ancient Roman contribution to sporting venues. The new stadium's lift will be used for bringing players to the surface rather than ferocious exotic animals. High-tech training facilities, a Nikestore and a Roma Hall of Fame will be other new amenities housed on the grounds. Dan Meis, a familiar figure in American arena architecture, will be leading the undertaking.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl. But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Indianapolis’ new Lucas Oil Stadium, designed by HKS' Bryan Trubey [read AN’s Q+A with Trubey here], hosted the Super Bowl in 2012. Indy has also hosted the NCAA Final Four and the Big Ten football championship. The stadium, which holds 70,000 people under its retractable roof, has spurred nearby development and solidified Indianapolis’ position as a Midwest sports Mecca. The ability to seat 70,000 fans is considered a prerequisite for hosting the Super Bowl, so Soldier Field’s capacity of 61,500 falls short. Soldier Field is currently the smallest stadium in the NFL. But an additional 5,000 would still make the home of the Chicago Bears a tight squeeze for spectators of the country’s biggest sporting event. Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman it’s also about other events:
“I know everybody looks at the Super Bowl. But, look at this hockey event [between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins], which we started last year with college hockey. You look at two years ago when we had the Mexican soccer team here. We have Liverpool coming. These things not only sell out. They sell out fast. And it’s clear that you could do more, given these super events and they would be self-financing and self-sustaining.”Dirk Lohan, who led the master plan for the stadium’s expansion, told Kamin he’s not optimistic about the preliminary expansion plans. He said the original renovations had to balance capacity and preservation, leading to a design whose structural system could not be updated today without considerable expenses. [Read AN’s Q+A with Dirk Lohan in the upcoming March issue of the Midwest edition.] Architects Benjamin Wood and Carlos Zapata modernized 1920s-era Soldier Field in 2003, but the Bears’ desire to add more seating lost out to the city’s imperative to preserve Soldier Field’s historic colonnades. The $690 million renovation lost its National Historic Landmark status anyway in 2006. It’s unclear who’s studying the possible expansion for the Mayor, but whoever reviews the plan may have to lock heads with public scrutiny as intense as the stadium’s design challenges.
After a long hiatus, Inglewood's Great Western Forum—now called the Forum Presented by Chase—is back with a $100 million renovation by BBB Architects and Clark Construction. To celebrate the moment, the venue's owner, MSG, has ordered up one of the more unusual promotions we've ever seen: the world's largest vinyl record topping its roof, by New York company Pop2Life. The record—a replica of the Eagles' Hotel California album—was made out of 250,00 square feet of printed vinyl (nearly 4.5 football fields' worth), 5,000 nuts and bolts, and 2,000 linear feet of curved aluminum, all built in 10 days. The thing actually spins at 17 mph. Meanwhile, the Forum itself, which opened on January 15, has been fitted with a modernized seating bowl (which can flex from 17,500 seats to 8,000), new hospitality offerings, and a revitalized 40,000 square foot outdoor terrace. The exterior has been repainted "California sunset red." By the way, the Forum (1967) was originally designed by Charles Luckman, who also designed MSG's Madison Square Garden.
Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled its design for a 40,000-seat soccer stadium to rise in the Arabian kingdom of Qatar. The project is slated to be complete in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is only one of several such facilities that the oil-rich nation plans to build—in addition to miles of roads, a seaport, airport, and a rail system—in a $140 billion spending spree to lay down the infrastructure necessary to support the event and the international crowds it attracts. Hadid's office has stated that the design of the stadium is derived from the dhow, a type of fishing vessel that is common among the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. Several commentators have pointed out, however, that the renderings more closely resemble the mounds, folds, and cavities of a certain very private part of the female anatomy. Since the World Cup is played during the summertime, one of the chief challenges of the design will be keeping the interior environment cool enough for comfortable spectating. Ambient temperatures in Qatar can reach as high as 120 degrees fahrenheit. According to Hadid's office, which is working on the project with AECOM, the shape of the roof—which will be a composite structure of steel and engineered timber—has been specifically designed to encourage passive cooling. This combined with mechanical air conditioning systems will keep the interior temperature at around 85 degrees fahrenheit. Hadid's feminine formed stadium falls among an illustrious company of other buildings that have attempted to counterbalance the predominantly male derived motifs of architecture. (Didn't someone once point out the phallic nature of the skyscraper?) Oddly enough, as with Hadid and her dhow diversionary tactics, few designers actually advertise that their lady like buildings are inspired by this impulse, and most commentators commend them for other reasons. The clearly feminine crown of A. Epstein & Sons' 1983 Smurfit-Stone Building in Chicago was also allegedly designed to reference sail boats, these in Lake Michigan, rather than a vagina. And Philip Johnson's award-winning 1975 Penzoil Place in Houston was lauded for helping architects to break away from the rectangular modernist box, rather than applauded for looking like a girl lying on her back with her knees in the air. While the profession of architecture roils with calls for more recognition of women's roles in great buildings, can't it also come a little cleaner about when it uses the feminine form as inspiration?