Miami’s vibrant nightlife scene was the design inspiration behind the modular tennis complex that hosted this year’s Miami Open. Fans, players, and sponsors at the top tournament were surprised this spring with a colorful new campus located in and around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Under the direction of Miami Dolphins' owner and Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross, the Detroit-based ROSSETTI created an out-of-the-box solution for the annual tennis championship that was highly-stylized yet saved tons of money. Instead of building a new, standalone tennis stadium, the design team decided to integrate a mix of temporary and permanent structures into the overall plan, across a total of 26 acres. “During a time when new stadiums cost a billion dollars, we designed a solution that uses the existing venue while creating an entirely fresh experience,” said Matt Rossetti, president of ROSSETTI, in a statement. “This design solution equates to a fraction of the embodied energy of a brand-new stadium and is a low-impact solution for the Miami environment. At the same time, we are creating an ‘international tennis festival’ that embodies the essence of Miami and delights fans.” Centered around six themed “neighborhoods,” the food and entertainment areas within the tennis campus were broken down into hospitality concepts that promoted different experiences for fans. These activation zones were set up as public squares that flanked the centralized Dolphin Plaza, a palm-tree lined pathway with fountains and greenery that linked the new outdoor courts to the larger stadium next door. New infrastructure included the 5,000-seat, demountable Grandstand, and the 13,8000-seat, temporary Stadium Court, which as the name suggests, was inside Hard Rock Stadium. In order to provide a more intimate viewing experience in that venue, a 47,200-square-foot confetti scrim was hung from its upper deck. Additionally, 18 practice courts, 12 exterior tournament courts, and 24 demountable cabana suites inside the stadium were built for the two-week competition. Because this year’s March tournament was the first time the Miami Open was held at this location, ROSSETTI crafted the entire architectural set-up to be built securely and taken down swiftly. The firm partnered with Thornton Tomasetti on the structural engineering and stadium design expert Seating Solutions on the stadium components. Renewable materials such as recycled glass countertops, decorative bamboo paneling, and interlocking wood decking were used throughout the site, and some of the structural products were repurposed after the event. Much like ROSSETTI's recently revamped USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, elevating the energy efficiency and enhancing the spectator experience of the Miami Open were at the heart of the project. Both the semi-permanent and temporary elements of the complex are slated to return for the 2020 tournament.
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While it is well known that Latin America has long produced some of Major League Baseball’s best players, the sport is rarely associated with those players’ home countries. So, when Mexico City’s Diablos Rojos professional baseball team was looking to build a new stadium, the goal was no less than to construct an icon for as wide a range of fans as possible. To do this, team owner, businessman, and philanthropist, Alfredo Harp Helú, tapped Chicago-based FGP Atelier—headed by Mexico-born Francisco Gonzalez Pulido—to design something that was at once striking as well as culturally and contextually appropriate. Local architect Alonso de Garay of Taller ADG collaborated on the design and stadium experts Populous advised on the project. While FGP and Taller ADG share credit for Diablos Rojos Stadium, FGP is credited with the design of the iconic roof structure that defines the project. Now near completion, and fully functional for its first baseball season, the stadium sits in an auspicious location in the heart of Mexico City. Located within Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City, home of the 1968 Summer Olympics, the stadium adds to an already busy civic space. Along with seemingly endless soccer fields, the campus also includes the staggering Félix Candela-designed Palacio de Los Deportes arena and a Formula One racetrack, both of which can be viewed from the stadium. Appropriately, when looking out from the stands and over the field, the now inactive Volcán Xaltepec sits on the horizon, adding to the Diablos’s fiery branding. The project’s big move comes in the form of soaring polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) roof system that dramatically cantilevers over 11,500 seats and a large public forecourt. The effect of the floating roof took on a literal meaning when it was lifted into place as a single piece by one of the world’s largest cranes. Taking the shape reminiscent of a devil’s tail or pitchfork, the roof acts as a unifying element for a series of smaller structures, which hold the stadium’s interior spaces. Along with the large entry sequence, a number of terraces are also tucked up closer to the roof, providing views of the field as well as the surroundings. Despite this grand roof, the experience moving through the stadium is more akin to walking down intimate streets and public plazas than into a large building. The majority of the public spaces are defined by a series of six truncated pyramids, which allude to Mexico’s indigenous architecture as well as the area’s volcanic geography. Along with a fairly direct reference to the region’s Aztec and Mayan pyramids, the spaces they produce bare similar geometries to the courts of the ballgame Tlachtli, which was played throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Each pyramid is clad in a double skin of precast black volcanic concrete louvers and glass, which glow at night but remain cool and shaded in the bright Mexican sun. Concessions, toilets, circulation, and other amenities are housed in these pyramids, while the space between acts as civic-scaled walkways for the crowds. The tops of the pyramids provide additional gathering spaces connected by flying walkways. The overall effect is of passing through a lithic village before the space opens up to the broad, unobstructed stands and field. Along with the form, the planning and technology of the project were designed to benefit as much of the area’s public as possible. While the stadium has luxury boxes like any other major league sports venue, numerous more-affordable seating options were built into the design, including 8,500 outfield seats. The area immediately surrounding the stadium can function both as circulation as well as supporting local markets and youth baseball, an amenity for the economically struggling adjacent neighborhood. To address a regional water scarcity issue, a collection and remediation system is integrated into the stadium's roof and plumbing system. Currently, the stadium is water net neutral, with all drinking and operating water being drawn and treated from the stadium’s cistern. Additionally, the massive amounts of scaffolding used to hold the roof in place during construction is currently being looked at as a resource for building temporary structures, such as open-air markets across the city. Yet, the project hasn't only been smooth sailing. Numerous delays, both avoidable and unavoidable, have meant that the roof membrane is not yet fully installed on the underside of the structure, leading to a few wet spectators and some wind issues. Early plans for a biodigester, to be used on site for power, was thwarted by local garbage politics. And a decision—strongly objected to by the architects—to put a fence around the entire project has taken heavy criticism from local press considering that the stadium is on public land. From the beginning of the project, the stadium’s place in the famed sports city has put it under the microscope of the media and kept the pressure on from local politicians. Local political intrigue aside, the Diablos Rojos Stadium provides a new iconic home for professional baseball in Mexico while questioning typical athletic venue design. Challenging the enclosed opaque bowl, the village of forms and materials are culturally and contextually appropriate without being overly derivative. As cities around the world strive to build arenas to showcase either their economic or global prowess, Mexico City now has a stadium that is for and about its place and its people.
On Sunday, all eyes will be on Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new arena that, less than 18 months after opening, is hosting the biggest sporting event in the nation: Super Bowl LIII. The National Football League (NFL) championship game—this year between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams—will be played with an architectural backdrop unlike anything in the world. The $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the most sustainable sports facility on earth. It is LEED Platinum and the only stadium of its kind with a kinetic, retractable roof. Designed by HOK in collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering, the building broke ground in 2014 and officially opened in August 2017 during the Atlanta Falcons’ pre-season. The sculptural structure replaced the 25-year-old Georgia Dome which was demolished the previous month. Ahead of the game this weekend, here’s everything you need to know about the 2-million-square-foot Mercedes-Benz stadium: Situated in downtown Atlanta, the Benz (as locals call it) houses 71,000 seats for NFL games and 32,456 seats for Major League Soccer games. It features a motorized scrim attached to the roof structure that can cover several sections. Designed to emulate the Pantheon in Rome, it features a semi-transparent retractable roof that’s nicknamed “the oculus” that lets sunlight into the interior. Bill Johnson, design principal of HOK’s Kansas City office, said this “literal out-of-the-box” thinking was what won the over Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank who bankrolled the project. “We wanted to move away from the typical square roofs you see on most stadiums and come up with something that created energy in the middle,” Johnson said. “The vision was that the opening would create a very tiny pinpoint of light on the Falcons’ logo at the 50-yard line, and as the roof retracted, the spotlight would become bigger and bigger.” The stadium’s kinetic roof consists of eight, 200-foot-long triangular “petals” made of lightweight ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). These petals are fixed to 16 individual tracks that can move at different speeds. The Benz now holds the record for the largest application of a single ETFE membrane in the world at 143,000 square feet. The angular facade of the Benz consists of wing-like sections made of insulated metal panels that wrap around the bowl. As a nod to the swooping wings found on the Falcons’ logo, these sections overlap one another and create a feeling of movement on the exterior. The base of the building features a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall that lets light into the facility during the day and serves as a 16-story panoramic window to the city. To Johnson, the success of Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been its ability to create social experiences for visitors. “Fans' tastes have changed and people want a big, game-day experience,” he said. “Some of it is driven by social media, and some of it is driven by younger fans who want to get up and move around throughout an event, gathering together and watching things from different angles.” Several aspects define the Benz as ultra-green. It’s powered by 4,000 photovoltaics, including an array of solar panels designed as carports. Alone, these generate 617 kilowatt-hours of energy each year for the stadium and the surrounding neighborhoods. According to Johnson, up to 10 NFL games can be powered with this amount of energy. Additionally, underneath the stadium is a 600,000-square-foot cistern that can hold up to 2 million gallons of rainwater. Johnson said the intervention has helped decrease flooding in this area of Atlanta, while simultaneously providing irrigation for local trees. One of the most impressive features of the Benz, according to Johnson, is the 360-degree halo scoreboard that wraps the oculus. It stretches 1,075-feet-wide and six stories high. Over 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cable support the ring-shaped screen, as well as the 2,000 televisions, and other technology found in the building. While this is the first time the Benz has hosted a Super Bowl, it’s the third time Atlanta has won the bid in 25 years. The city put out a proposal midway through the construction of the new stadium. Post-opening, its first big test came last month when it played host to the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The college playoffs will come back to the Benz in late December and next year, it will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four. For more, check out this timelapse of the Benz's build-out courtesy Earthcam.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled renderings for a proposed gondola line that could link downtown Oakland, California, with the firm’s proposed baseball stadium development for the Oakland Athletics on Howard Terminal. The proposed gondola line would bridge a 1.3-mile gap in transit access between the Bay Area Regional Transit (BART) system that stops in downtown Oakland and Jack London Square, a site adjacent to the new development. The link is projected to serve up to 6,000 individuals per hour and will take roughly three minutes to make the trip. The proposal has come to light as the A's and BIG work to assuage local stadium-related concerns, which include lack of transit access to the site and preservation issues for the existing Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which will be effectively torn down for the project. The new renderings show a conventional gondola system running above the streets of Downtown Oakland. The elevated line will ferry passengers above the street and between the buildings that line the route while picking up and dropping off at raised stations with curved metal and wood walls. Gondolas are having a bit of a moment in American transit planning circles, as two efforts are lifting off in Los Angeles and in other cities. In L.A., a recent proposal to build a gondola line linking the city’s Union Station with Dodger Stadium has gained momentum. A second proposal to build a gondola line to connect various parts of the city to the Hollywood Sign has also gained notoriety as local officials move to accommodate a recent uptick in foot traffic to the remote mountainside sign. Plans for the Oakland gondola are being developed in tandem with the stadium proposal, which calls for new residential, commercial, and cultural programs around the baseball stadium. If all goes according to plan, the new stadium and gondola line could be up and running as soon as 2023.
OMA has unveiled schematic designs of what will become the largest football venue in the Netherlands. The 63,000-seat Feyenoord Stadium will sit nestled along the river Maas with up-close views of Rotterdam’s skyline, replacing the city’s 80-year-old, out-of-regulation Stadium de Kuip. Tasked with the challenge to create a sports structure as beloved as its aged predecessor, OMA’s design team has envisioned an intimate, low-lying arena where every visitor, no matter their seat, will have unmatched views of the pitch below. It features a bowl shape set on a platform that partially juts out over the river. The main concourse wraps around the structure as a new urban plaza featuring a design by Lola Landscape. The current stadium De Kuip will be reimagined as part of a new residential, commercial, and recreational hub known as Feyenoord City. The build-out of Feyenoord Stadium will serve as a catalyst for this master plan, also designed by OMA, which aims to regenerate the underutilized waterfront Rotterdam Zuid neighborhood. The overall plan includes the redevelopment of De Kuip into an apartment complex and athletic center, as well as revamp an adjacent park. A pedestrian walkway, known as De Strip, will connect the old stadium with the upcoming arena, which is surrounded by rail and highways. Feyenoord Stadium is expected to open in 2023.
Is the United States becoming more serious about soccer? We think we have evidence to say that it is. AN’s most popular sports stories of 2018 center around the world’s greatest sport, telling us that this year’s uptick of soccer-related architecture news signals a newfound appreciation for the game in our country. Read on for several developments you should pay attention to, and other stories about why sustainable stadium design is also on the rise. David Beckham’s Miami soccer village reveals Arquitectonica’s designs Miami is set to receive its first Major League Soccer (MLS) team, backed by soccer superstar David Beckham who plans to build a 73-acre campus for the city called “Miami Freedom Park.” Arquitectonica revealed new renderings of the sports village, complete with a sweeping, 25,000-seat soccer stadium. In November, local residents voted to approve the project and its projected location on the city-owned Melreese Country Club golf course, meaning Beckham’s vision is one step closer to breaking ground. Nashville’s new $2 million soccer stadium takes shape In December 2016, MLS announced a major club expansion to four U.S. cities including Nashville, Tennessee. Though the southern city wasn’t sure it’d be awarded a new team, plans for a multimillion-dollar stadium project had been in the works for over a year. This February, HOK released its first renderings of the new stadium, which will be constructed inside the Fairgrounds, home of the Tennessee State Fair. Selecting the central site was a contentious process throughout 2017 when a lawsuit was filed citing the city had violated its charter by proposing the project on public grounds. 2026 World Cup preview: Which U.S. cities will host? As Qatar preps for the 2022 World Cup, the United States is on deck to host the 2026 games alongside Canada and Mexico. That’s exciting news for a country whose national team rarely makes it into the World Cup lineup—the joint bid automatically ensures us a spot. But what’s not yet official are the 10 cities that will host events. We know that 60 of the 80 planned matches will be played in the U.S., including those from the quarterfinals onwards, but currently, 17 cities are still in the running. Which top towns, along with their state-of-the-art stadiums (which are an integral part of the individual bid), will make the cut? We’ve listed all the contenders here from Atlanta’s new Mercedes Benz Stadium by HOK (host of the 2019 Super Bowl) to the classic Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. Naturally-ventilated Louis Armstrong Stadium debuts at US Open Ahead of this September’s US Open, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center finished a five-year, $600 million renovation project of its campus in Flushing, Queens, New York. The massive update included the buildout of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, the world’s first naturally ventilated tennis arena with a retractable roof. Designed by Detroit-based firm Rossetti, the 14,000-seat stadium replaces the former Louis Armstrong Stadium, which was demolished after the 2016 championship. The new structure features the same stacked seating style as its predecessor but serves up extra sustainability with the exterior overlapping terracotta louvers that act as horizontal window blinds. New home of the Texas Rangers has a climate-controlling, retractable roof HKS has designed a new 41,000-seat baseball stadium for the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, set to replace the old Globe Life Park in 2020. The aptly named Globe Life Field will be a glass- and brick-clad structure featuring new climate-controlling infrastructure and a retractable roof. HKS’s design for the 1.7 million-square-foot ballpark was inspired by the vernacular style of Texas farmhouse porches. BIG unveils designs for new Oakland A’s stadium featuring a rooftop park Late this November, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the Oakland Athletics unveiled plans for a new baseball park and mixed-use campus in Oakland, California. Complete with a literally diamond-shaped stadium, the project is being pitched as a double-play for the city. It will feature an open and accessible landscape situated within Oakland’s underutilized Howard Terminal and will also include housing, recreational spots, and a business hub. Gensler and James Corner Field Operations will work alongside BIG to build out the mega-green space by 2021.
The Ohio soccer club FC Cincinnati has revealed renderings of a new stadium designed by Meis Architects. The design borrows features from some of Europe's best stadia. Meis Architects, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, has designed the $200 million stadium to seat 26,500 people, with room to expand to 30,000. The new stadium is part of FC Cincinnati's bid to become a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. If successful, the club, which was founded in 2016, will leave the United Soccer League (USL), moving into the new stadium in 2021. Preliminary designs feature a U-shaped bowl which will be illuminated by LED lighting underneath an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) canopy. The canopy can be lit up in the club's iconic orange and blue colors, much like the ETFE lighting scheme at FC Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena designed by Herzog & de Meuron. A site has yet to be confirmed, but a proposed site across the Ohio River in Newport means views of Downtown Cincinnati will be framed by the stadium. A retractable roof canopy meanwhile will act to mitigate noise from the stadium during game time. The main homestand, to be known as "The New Bailey," will be a single tier and have a capacity of 8,000, echoing the famous "kop" stand at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium in the U.K. The New Bailey will sit behind one of the goals in the open end of the enclosed horse-shoe shaped stadium. "It will lay against a tight dramatic backdrop, providing an unparalleled MLS experience for fans and players alike," said Meis Architects in a description of the stadium on its website.
Today tennis takes over the world’s stage with the start of the 2018 US Open. Now in its 50th year, the tournament will play out within the newly renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. The five-year, $600-million project is now finished with the opening of the site’s final project: the Louis Armstrong Stadium, the world's first naturally ventilated tennis arena with a retractable roof. Over the next two weeks, hundreds of thousands of fans will descend upon the city to watch the final Grand Slam of the year, and while the tennis champions themselves are the real stars of the show, the stadium architecture will be prominently on display. The highly-anticipated renovation marks the end of the site’s fraught history with deteriorating courts and rain delays messing up major events. Designed by Detroit-based firm Rossetti, the new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium evokes the feel of the old arena, which the USTA opened in 1978, but includes modern feats of engineering and sustainable design additions that bring it into the 21st century of sports architecture. The stadium boasts 40 percent more seating than its predecessor in two levels of precast concrete bowls and an advanced shading system that’s anchored by a fixed, cantilevered roof deck. Matches can proceed rain or shine thanks to the masterfully-engineered two-piece, moving roof that covers the court. Called a “complex, stackable sun room” by the architects, the retractable roof features 284,000-pound PTFE fabric panels that create a 38,160-square-foot opening after traveling 25 feet per minute in under seven minutes from the stadium’s edge. The transparent, lightweight fabric diffuses a soft light into the arena when closed, transferring 73 percent of the sun’s energy. The sides of the stadium additionally allow breezes to flow through the facility. Rossetti placed 14,250 overlapping terracotta louvers on the north and south sides of the structure that act as horizontal window blinds. The siding material is a nod to the traditional brick buildings found throughout the tennis grounds. Construction began on the new stadium two years ago when the 52-year-old Armstrong arena was demolished after the 2016 championship. Originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair, the structure was much-loved because it gave fans an intimate experience and unbeatable views with sky-high, stacked seating. Louis Armstrong Stadium 2.0, as many are nicknaming it, does the same but with a more porous, contemporary design. Plus, it has a built-in umbrella that ensures consistency of play no matter the weather. To celebrate its opening, Armstrong will hold more matches during the 2018 US Open than its neighboring Arthur Ashe Stadium, an 18,000-seat arena that also received a flexible roofing system during the renovation. Both stadiums will hold two matches at night, but Armstrong will see three during the day while Ashe will host two.
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.
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When the Georgia Dome opened in 1992, its Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof was considered a modern marvel, stretching more than 395,000 square feet and weighing just 68 pounds. Atlanta's domed stadium hosted an impressive roster of sporting events in its 25 years of use, including three NCAA Men's Final Fours, two decades of SEC championships, two Super Bowls, two NBA seasons and an Olympics. Today, its new sibling, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, offers perhaps more impressive engineering accomplishments and promises to draw impressive sporting events to the city. Completed in August 2017, the multi-purpose venue is officially the first LEED Platinum-certified professional sports stadium in the United States. Among other industry-leading features, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is notable for its kinetic roof structure. While other stadiums with retractable roofs must allocate additional land for the entire roof assembly to open horizontally off the stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium offers an innovative space-saving solution by breaking down the geometry of the roof into eight triangular petals which retract in a radial fashion. The petals are composed of three layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) membrane fabricated into air-inflated “pillows” involving more than 143,000 square feet of membrane. The lightweight material was selected for its durability and translucency. Each petal cantilevers approximately 200 feet inwards towards the center of the stadium on 16 secondary trusses which spring from four 720-feet-long primary steel trusses. This primary steel frame spans to concrete “mega-columns.” Nested within the steel framing of the oculus is the world’s largest media wall, an immersive six-foot-tall, 360-degree HD display covering over 63,000 square feet. Unrolled, the video board would stretch three football fields long. HOK worked with an integrated team of engineers from the start, coordinating information with a robust digital toolset that included digital modeling software. Custom algorithms and parametric modeling tools integrated the stadium’s complex geometrical layout with tens of thousands of pieces of information about the roof structure and its behavior and movement during various load scenarios. The project ultimately generated over 18,000 sheets of steel shop drawings, and during peak fabrication involved 32 factories in the U.S. and Canada making and delivering steel pieces simultaneously. The facade of the project is composed of insulated metal panels and a transparent ETFE facade, which has been marketed as a “window to the city” offering seamless visual connection to the surrounding context. ETFE in the wall assembly was fritted in a range of coverage from 20 percent to 70 percent in response to solar orientation. The composition of the angular wing-like wall panels abstractly reference the stadium’s National Football League team, the Atlanta Falcons. Beyond the Falcons, the stadium flexibly hosts Major League Soccer franchise, and is expandable for major events that the Georgia Dome used to host–Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four Basketball tournaments, FIFA World Cup matches, and major concerts and performances. To accomodate geometric differences between a soccer pitch and football field, lower level seats are retractable and an automated curtain system attached to the roof structure comes down to bring soccer fans close to the pitch. Several impressive planning decisions beyond the facade contributed to the stadium's LEED Platinum certification. Design elements of the building envelope which contributed to the stadium’s LEED Platinum certification include integrated rooftop solar panels, improved daylighting from use of ETFE, and passive cooling benefits from the retractable roof. Gus Drosos, technical principal of HOK's Kansas City office, said the consistency of the attachments of the ETFE system throughout the project and detailing of complex corners were specific successes of the building envelope design that offered valuable insight into working with ETFE and might carry over into future ETFE projects.Additional insight into the design and construction of Mercedes Benz Stadium will be offered at the upcoming Facades+ Atlanta, where a panel of architects from HOK, EcoWorks Studio, and tvsdesign will deliver presentations in a session titled, "Designing MBS: Secrets of the Mercedes Benz Stadium." For more information on the Facades+ conference series, along with registration information, visit Facades+.
Soccer fields, ballparks, and football stadiums are all designed to direct attention towards a central spectacle, but that doesn’t mean they all have to follow the same playbook. In a year where cities tried to integrate their stadiums into the surrounding urban fabric, developers and designers demonstrated new ways of thinking about how we imagine sports architecture. Designing for sports means thinking not only about withstanding the elements and the wear and tear of massive crowds, but also make sure the project stands the test of time. 2017 saw stadiums go to new, sometimes weird places, all made possible through creative engineering. Below are some of the best sports architecture projects that AN has written about this year. The Rams' Stadium dapples in the sun The swooping, biomorphic shape of the new L.A. Rams stadium is pierced by 20 million holes. Even though the whole thing is clad in metal panels, the breezy, HKS-designed arena will let fresh air blow through, hopefully solving at least some of the “hellish” conditions of the current coliseum. HOK’s oscillating Georgia Dome replacement A viral story about the Georgia Dome’s failed implosion couldn’t overshadow the opening of its replacement, HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Crowned by an iris-shaped roof that can open or close in only nine minutes, the stadium features a host of innovative engineering applications that make it what it is. The multi-use, LEED Platinum certified stadium has certainly been recognized for it, too. The Oakland Raiders are leaving (to) Las Vegas Putting aside the Raiders’ controversial move from Oakland to Las Vegas, the stadium proposed for the team’s new hometown is light, airy, and undeniably football-centric. A step up from the 50-year old concrete coliseum that the Raiders share with the Oakland A’s, the approximately $2 billion project will focus solely on one sport. While the project broke ground just last month and is on track for the NFL’s 2020 season, that means three years of tension between fans while the Raiders are still in Oakland.* Bending it like Beckham in Miami This year new renderings were released for the stadium that soccer star David Beckham hopes will draw a pro-soccer team to Miami. After feedback over an initially bulky design, Populous unveiled plans for an open-air stadium with a soaring superstructure topped by a canopy. The most ground-breaking part of the stadium is that it won’t break ground on any parking lots, encouraging spectators to use the nearby Metrorail, waterways, and even a shuttle service from stadium-owned parking garages that could be built further away. Los Angeles goes European with their latest soccer stadium The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) teamed up with Gensler earlier this year to release their plans for a “European-style” soccer stadium where steeply stacked seating arrangements would put fans closer to the field than a traditional layout. Newly-christened as the Banc of California Stadium, the open-air stadium is ensconced around the edges by cavernous glass sections that will both keep viewers dry as well as house the lighting system. A focus on upscale interior finishes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a soccer stadium, but the LAFC hopes that these restaurants and commercial spaces will draw non-fans to the area as well. Tampa’s new-old skatepark wins over critics Skaters were outraged when Tampa demolished the Bro Bowl, a concrete skatepark that boarders had been tagging since 1978. Part of the city’s redevelopment of the Central Avenue drag, a compromise was reached where an exact replica of the park was built a few hundred feet away, with the original site being turned into a sculpture garden for works portraying prominent members of the African American community. With both Tampa’s African American community and the skaters up in arms at first, both sides have come to embrace the new developments.