Posts tagged with "Stadiums":
The Los Angeles Clippers have released initial renderings of their brand new 18,500-seat arena expected to open in 2024. Team owner Steve Ballmer and the city of Inglewood are moving forward with the $1 billion, 900,000-square-foot NBA arena over neighborhood concerns and lawsuits over the project. Designed by local architecture and engineering firm AECOM, the metal-clad, oval-shaped arena is said to be inspired by the "swoosh" of a basketball net. Ballmer told ESPN, "I want it to be a noisy building… I really want that kind of energy." The grand vision includes a basketball arena, corporate office building, sports medicine clinic, retail, community and youth-oriented spaces, parking garages, a solar-panel-clad roof, indoor-outdoor "sky gardens," and an outdoor game-viewing area with massive digital screens. Ballmer's goal is to create, "the best home in all of sports," he said in a statement accompanying the release of the renderings. "What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood. Our goal is to build a facility that resets fans' expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home." Ballmer, one of the richest people in the world, will privately finance the mixed-use development. The project must overcome several legal challenges that cloud its potential success. First, from the Uplight Inglewood Coalition, an organization looking to strengthen Inglewood residents' political power, is suing the city on allegations that the city's deal to sell the land for the arena violated California state law. The California Surplus Land Act requires that public land be prioritized for affordable housing development before any other uses. Housing costs in the area had soared since 2016, when the NFL agreed to let the Rams and Chargers relocate to Inglewood. "In the midst of booming development—which has caused skyrocketing rents and the loss of affordable housing—it simply does not make any sense to prioritize an NBA arena over the needs of Inglewood residents without investing in the needs of residents," Uplift Inglewood member D'artagnan Scorza said in a recent press release, "Public land should be used for the public good, and access to housing is central to building strong communities." Second, James Dolan, owner and CEO of Madison Square Garden, owner of the New York Knicks and the nearby Forum has also sued the city, accusing leaders of secretly negotiating with the Clippers to build on land that it once leased. The 26-acre complex will house all team operations, from corporate headquarters to the team's training facility. The Clippers currently practice in Playa Vista, have a business office in downtown Los Angeles, and play at the Staples Center (shared with rival Lakers and NHL's Kings since 1999). Their lease ends in 2024, putting pressure on team ownership to finish construction on time for the next season.
Eight out of the 42 venues slated to host next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be brand new. All were designed by Japanese architects, and it’s one of the rare times that the biennial sporting event isn’t banking on the brand recognition of a foreign-born design team for one of its main buildings. In fact, most of the architecture is old; 25 venues are already existing thanks to Japan’s plans to repurpose a number of the buildings constructed for the 1964 Summer Olympics, the last time Tokyo hosted the Games. Though Kengo Kuma’s timber-clad Olympic Stadium will be at the center of the sprawling citywide sporting campus, the other slew of structures—most of them inspired by Japanese tradition—will also put Tokyo’s architecture on the world’s stage. Take a look at some of the buildings that are coming up for 2020, as well as the ones that will return to the spotlight: Olympic Stadium Architect: Kengo Kuma Capacity: 68,000 Sport: Opening/Closing Ceremonies, soccer, track and field After almost of decade of controversy over the design of the Olympic Stadium, Kengo Kuma’s vision is nearly complete. An all wood-and-steel structure, it broke ground in December 2016 on the site of the former National Stadium which was demolished the year prior. Kuma’s design was criticized upon release, many citing its similarity to Zaha Hadid’s defunct proposal for the project, which she won in 2012. Hadid’s proposal proved too costly, so the Japanese government decided to rebid the site in late 2015, asking designers to partner with local contractors who could estimate costs and timing. Kuma won in a partnership with several major groups including the Taisei Corporation and Toyo Ito. Olympic Aquatics Center Architect: Yamashita Sekkei and Cox Architecture Capacity: 15,000 Sport: Swimming, diving, synchronized swimming Scheduled for completion in February, the Aquatics Center features a distinct and thin roof supported by four bare pillars that rise from the ground level. Its four angular all-glass facades appear to have a rib-like pattern going from end to end, drawing the eye upward to focus on the trapezoidal-shaped platform atop it. The entire 828,800-square-foot arena, located in the North Tokyo Bay, is raised on a podium and is expected to weigh 7,000 tons. Ariake Arena Architect: Kume Sekkei Capacity: 12,000 Sport: Indoor Volleyball Volleyball made its Olympic debut in 1964, coincidentally the last time Tokyo hosted the Summer Games, and the future Ariake Arena was a major part of the city’s 2020 bid. Situated in a northwest corner of Tokyo Bay next to the Ariake Tennis Park, the almost-complete project features a convex roof design that’s unlike any other venue in the athletic event. Resembling an inverted crest wave, the silver-structure boasts incredible views of the bay outside its front door. Olympic Village Architect: Unknown Capacity: 17,000 athletes Tokyo’s Olympic Village will be located on the Harumi Pier, which is at the physical center of the Heritage and Tokyo Bay venue zones—the two areas where the venues have been allocated for Tokyo 2020. Spread out over 33 acres, the village will contain 22 buildings ranging from 14 to 22 stories, as well as two 50-story residential towers. It’s another controversial project: locals are concerned about the site’s functionality after the Olympics are over. Plans call for some 5,650 apartments to be built in the next five years, which has the real estate market worried. Branded as the Harumi Flag community, the development will include commercial space, parks, and a school on the pier as well. More interestingly, it’s supposed to be the largest hydrogen-powered development in the world. Ariake Gymnastics Center Architect: Nikken Sekkei Capacity: 12,000 Sport: Gymnastics Located in Tokyo’s Koto Ward just steps away from the Olympic Village, the Ariake Gymnastics Center will feature more wood than any other venue in its bowl-shaped design. Construction is set to finish in October on the one-million-square-foot, low-lying structure which, according to the Japan Times, includes slanted walls as a nod to the engawa verandas found on traditional Japanese homes. The central element of the architecture is a massive, 394-foot-long-by-295-foot-wide wood roof that arches over the building’s core. The exterior includes a series of crisscrossed wooden poles that stretch from the overhang of the roof to the plaza below. Here's a rundown of the older venues that will host an event for Tokyo 2020: Yoyogi National Stadium Architect: Kenzo Tange Capacity: 13,000 Sport: handball Built: 1964 Known for: Its parabolic roof design and for inspiring Frei Otto’s design for the Olympic Stadium in Munich. Nippon Budokan Architect: Mamoru Tamada Capacity: 41,000 Sport: Judo Built: 1964 Known for: Its octagonal shape and pointed roof that references Mt. Fuji., as well as a concrete lower half that looks like a Brutalist version of a traditional Japanese temple. Sapporo Dome Architect: Hiroshi Hara Capacity: 41,000 Sport: Soccer Built: 2001, for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Known for: Its metallic exterior and futuristic form, as well as for boasting the first retractable pitch in the world. Tatsumi International Swimming Centre Architect: Environment Design Institute Capacity: 3,600 Sport: Water polo Built: 1993 Known for: Its space frame roof and all-white exterior cladding, that folds over the glass and concrete building to create curved frames for views. Tokyo Big Sight Architect: AXS Satow Size: 1.1 million square feet Sport: Planned to host wrestling, fencing, and taekwondo, but will now be the main media center Built: 1996 Known for: Its four inverted pyramids clad in titanium that together house a convention center. Izu Velodrome Architect: Gensler and Schurmann Architects Capacity: 1,800; 4,300 with temporary seating Sport: Track Cycling Built: 2011 Known for: The silver drum-shaped building holds the first 250-meter-long indoor track made of timber in Japan.
An array of fins will now ensconce FC Cincinnati's soccer field, to be called the West End Stadium, after a total redesign from stadia specialists Populous that replaces the ETFE pillow facade previously proposed for the project. A total of 513 fins—a total of 5.4 miles—will be used to wrap stadium's facade, angled incrementally to create an undulating wave formation on the exterior (513 also happens to be Cincinnati's telephone code number). Each fin will be approximately two-to-three inches wide and 18 inches deep, situated in a way to provide a view into the stadium when viewed head-on and a more solid appearance when viewed down the length of the building’s façade. As with the previous incarnation of the stadium, which was designed by a team lead by Meis Architects, LED lighting has been proposed. With Populous' design, LEDs will illuminate each fin, allowing the stadium to glow at night for events, and will most likely be blue and orange as per FC Cincinnati's jersey colors. To make this happen, the LED lighting system will be integrated into the leading edge of each vertical element to create ambient light and experiential graphics predominantly along the building’s eastern-facing facade. Lighting operators will have to be careful not to follow in the footsteps of Bayern Munich FC in Germany, where multiple car accidents have been caused by the changing colors of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Allianz Arena's ETFE facade. FC Cincinnati's west facade, on the other hand, will utilize more glazing in order to balance the relationship to the surrounding neighborhood. When asked why the team was changing direction in realizing the new stadium, an FC Cincinnati representative provided the following statement: "Meis’ designs provided a great foundation for us and got us going down a design path that would deliver Cincinnati a truly unique stadium, which was important to us and one of the goals of this project. However, as we reached a critical point in our construction path, we decided to bring in Populous who had far greater resources behind them to ensure the project met ownership’s goals of delivering a state-of-the-art stadium on-time, on-budget and with an iconic look and feel." "Our goal was to create the jewel of the Queen City’s crown," Jonathan Mallie, a partner at Populous who led the current project's design, told The Architect's Newspaper. "The twisting motion of the vertically expressed fins speaks to the dynamics of the match and the tension between the two teams about to take to the pitch." Six entrance gates have been proposed for the stadium, though the main staircase will take Orange and Blue fans on a grand precession from Central Parkway, rising 30 feet in the process. "Several MLS teams have unique traditions —FC Cincinnati’s supporters have an incredible march to the match," said Mallie. "Their energy builds as fans approach the stadium. We were captivated by their presence - you hear the noise, you see vibrant orange and blue, you sense their excitement and passion for the team. Our aim... was to funnel the energy of the fan base as it ascends up the plaza staircase and underneath the exterior façade which gently hovers above." This atmosphere will be brought into and enhanced inside the stadium, too. Space has been allocated for 3,100 safe-standing seats in The Bailey, a designated home fan section that spans the stadium's entire north end. More lessons from Germany: safe standing has proved to be hugely successful, particularly in the case of Borussia Dortmund, where the spectacle of a "yellow wall" can be observed on match days. If you can, go, it's truly exhilarating. FC Cincinnati's decision to integrate safe standing is a progressive move, one that admittedly won't match Dortmund but will go a long way to bolstering the oh-so cherished stadium atmosphere. Even those sitting down can get in on the action, as the closest seat will be just 15 feet from the playing field, with the furthest being 130 feet away in the upper tier. The total stadium capacity has yet to be finalized but will be around 26,000, with every seat being protected by a canopy roof.
FC Cincinnati was founded in 2016. In a sign of remarkable progress, the West End Stadium is scheduled to open in March 2021, even with the design team switch.
Portland, Oregon, has dubbed itself “Soccer City, USA,” and cultivated an ardent fan base for its two professional teams, the Timbers and the Thorns. Allied Works founding principal Brad Cloepfil is among those fans and has watched various iterations of the Timbers play since the mid-1970s. When he heard that the teams’ owners were investigating adding seats to Providence Park, their historic stadium, Cloepfil volunteered his firm to do a study. What followed was an exploration of how to design a stadium expansion in a tight urban space hemmed in by roads, utilities, buildings, and a light rail line. Where previous expansion studies had looked at the south side of the stadium, Allied Works focused on the east side and expanding upwards. The architects found a precedent in the raucous Estadio Alberto J. Armando in Buenos Aires, known as La Bombanera, where steep stands form a “U” around three sides of the pitch with a fourth flat side—a configuration the designers adapted in their new plan. Not being traditional stadium architects, they found another successful example of going vertical in London’s Globe Theatre, a venue whose stacked levels of outdoor seating manage to bring audiences close into the action below. From the outset, the project’s signature gesture was an arched canopy that sweeps from the edge of the existing seating on the lower level over three new tiers of seating. Fret-like trusses support a 117-foot cantilever and wrap back across the top of the building, transitioning into subtly modulated clusters of pipes as they extend down the facade and anchor to the sidewalk. “We looked at what would give it presence, knowing we weren’t going to make a solid, historicist, site-cast addition,” said Cloepfil. “We let the structure be the expression and had the tension pulled back to the street, which allowed the rest of the building to be quite simple.” With limited space between the field and the property line, and the need to get the right number of seats, the new levels of seating trays cantilever over the sidewalk, creating an airy, 25-foot-high street-level arcade behind the filigree of steel pipes. At each level, the architects “tuned” the angle of the seats to achieve the right slope and floor-to-floor heights to give visitors wide views of the pitch and accommodate the high-ball line. Providence Park is one of the oldest stadiums in Major League Soccer, and Allied Works wanted to respect that history. The stadium’s original 1925 master plan by prominent Portland architect A.E. Doyle and Morris Whitehouse proposed a classically styled facility. While the west and north sides hewed more or less to the architects’ design, the stands on the east side morphed over time, eventually becoming a partially covered, low-slung seating area. Allied Works’ design visually reinstates the more vertical east side stands envisioned by Doyle and Whitehouse. “It was a missing piece,” said Chelsea Grassinger, project lead at Allied Works, “and this was an opportunity to bring that back.”
Zaha Hadid Architects' (ZHA) 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium, a billowing, nautically-inspired venue in the coastal city of Al Wakrah, Qatar, is now open to the public. Together with AECOM, ZHA drew on the shape of dhows, long, thin traditional sailing boats, to create the swooping curves of the Al Janoub Stadium’s roof. When the 40,000-seat soccer stadium (collapsible to 20,000 after the World Cup) was first revealed, however, commentators were quick to point out its yonic shape and textures. The supposedly fleshy creases are formally meant to reference large sails, while the curved sections are supposed to approximate dhows turned over on their hulls to provide shelter. Adding further complexity to the roof are the pleated panels that cascade down the sides of the building, connecting at the eaves to bronzed lattices on the lower stories. The lower screens visually depart from the white and off-white panels above, but also reference traditional Islamic crafting techniques through their shape and metallic cover. Inside, the stadium was designed to passively cool its patrons. The fully-operable polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) roof, designed by Schlaich Bergermann Partner unfurls along a cable track to protect spectators and players from the harsh summer sun. The underside of the roof continues the nautical styling of the stadium’s exterior, with a coffered ceiling that meets circular, steel rigging at the center that’s crisscrossed with speakers, lights, and screens. Al Janoub Stadium sits on top of a new landscaped podium, with large voids cut into the structure to allow for at-grade entry and vehicle access.
Bjarke Ingels has gone back to the drawing board and released a revised version of the Oakland Athletics’ potential new home stadium. The new renderings come three weeks after plans surfaced for an aerial gondola that would link the waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal to the larger Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is working with executive architect Gensler and landscape architect James Corner Field Operations for the site’s green spaces. Rather than a walled-off compound, BIG has envisioned a public-facing, mixed-use “ballpark district” in the vein of Boston’s Fenway Center, or Colorado’s Coors Field–adjacent West Lot. The scheme is projected to bring housing, a business campus, retail, and recreational areas to the waterfront site. The original scheme that BIG unveiled for the stadium last November was centered around a square ballpark topped with an occupiable green “ring” roof. Triangular housing clusters reminiscent of the firm’s Via 57 West would have been positioned at the stadium’s corners, and, judging from the renderings, a playground would have been located en route to the ballpark’s entrance. The diamond-shaped plan received mixed reviews from the public and elected officials. In an open letter sent out Monday, the A’s president Dave Kaval laid out the benefits of the new, softer scheme. Namely, BIG has opened up views of the nearby waterfront while creating a “softer” approach to the stadium. The surrounding towers, some of them up to 20 stories tall, have been reconfigured into more of a “stadium seating” arrangement and would slope down to face both the ballpark and the adjacent waterfront. Though the shape has changed, the airy, striated facade of the 34,000-seat stadium will remain. As part of the A’s initiative to build on the site, the team has partnered with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, a local environmental justice group, and will be presenting the West Oakland Environmental Justice bill to the state legislature. Howard Terminal, the location of the potential stadium, is currently a brownfield site with an industrial past, and soil and groundwater remediation will need to be completed before the A’s can break ground. The team is aiming to begin construction in 2021 and open the park by 2024 but is still working to purchase the site from Alameda County and the city of Oakland.
A project team led by developers Wilson Meany and Stockbridge has unveiled the latest batch of renderings for a 2,500-unit mixed-use neighborhood set to rise around the forthcoming Los Angeles Rams stadium in Inglewood, California. Gensler, BCV Architecture + Interiors, Architects Orange, and Hart Howerton are providing architectural design services for the project while Studio-MLA is the landscape architect for the 298-acre site, Curbed reports. The new HKS Architects–designed, $2.66-billion stadium is in the midst of heavy construction and topped out earlier this year. The teardrop-shaped structure will come wrapped in over 36,000 perforated metal panels and will be punctuated by a large-format elliptical screen located at its uppermost levels that will play advertisements and other graphic projections. A large artificial lake will be located beside the stadium, as well, and will feature a series of waterfalls. The stadium is due to be completed in 2020. According to a project website, the new surrounding neighborhood will open in phases starting in 2020 with an initial batch of 314 apartments of various configurations, including three-bedroom units, spread out over two structures. Eventually, the development will contain 2,500 dwelling units, 620,000-square feet of retail spaces, a 300-key hotel, and a new casino. The new renderings portray a series of porous outdoor shopping areas connected by covered outdoor spaces, programmed landscape areas, and indoor-outdoor venues like a foodie-friendly dining hall and several covered lounge areas. The plans also call for a long and narrow amphitheater and a performance stage. Residential areas for the development will see structures two- to four-stories in height while the hotel complex is slated for a five-story structure anchored by groundfloor retail. An unspecified amount of office space will also be included in the project. The size and market-driven nature of the new development—there are no new affordable housing units slated in conjunction with the project—has already jump-started gentrification in the renter-heavy, predominantly working-class area. Estimates indicate that property values have increased by as much as 80 percent in recent years, Curbed reports. New housing and shopping are not the only things coming to the area, however. A recently-unveiled plan seeks to link the new neighborhood with the regional transit system by building a new 1.8-mile automated people mover. The new infrastructure aims to provide easy access to the site when it will be used as a venue during the 2028 Olympic games, which Los Angeles is hosting across a series of scattered regional sites and facilities that will include the new stadium complex. *Correction: This story incorrectly reported that 3,000 housing units were being built in conjunction with the development; The correct figure is 2,500 units.
After David Beckham and his Major League Soccer (MLS) partners unveiled the first glimpse of their billion-dollar, 73-acre soccer campus in early July, details about the development, and Miami’s possible first MLS team, have been coming fast and furious. This morning, Beckham, the potential Miami football club's owner and president, unveiled the new name and logo of the team. “Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami,” or Inter Miami CF, are scheduled to begin playing in 2020 if all goes according to plan and will be represented with an emblem that combines Miami’s signature pink with a pair of herons. Beckham and team co-owner Jorge Mas claim that every part of the team’s identity references Miami’s diverse global population, from the name to the “M” shape formed by the birds in the logo.
More information about the contentious Miami Freedom Park soccer complex has also been made public. The potential development would rise on the city-owned Melreese Country Club golf course, and Beckham and partners successfully convinced city commissioners to put the development on the ballot in November. If voters approve, Beckham’s partnership would lease about half of Melreese from the city for 39 years (with an option to extend their lease to 99 years), while the city would need to renovate the rest of the country club using taxpayer funds. Beckham and Mas have enlisted hometown favorite Arquitectonica to plan and design the complex. In addition to the 10.5.-acre, 25,000-seat soccer stadium that anchors the plan, Freedom Park could contain 23 acres of soccer fields, 3,750 parking spots (a radical departure from Beckham’s first stadium proposal), 600,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 750 hotel rooms, and 400,000 square feet of offices. In the updated renderings, Arquitectonica has included a playground, skate park, and golf facility on the city-owned portion of the park, which, if built, would be constructed with public funding. The curving canopies of the stadium, which swirl around the open field and resemble an aperture, will extend out to beyond the building proper and seemingly cover other public areas. Miami residents will vote on whether to move ahead with Freedom Park this November.
Ticket retailer Vivid Seats teamed up with NeoMam Studios, a content marketing agency, to produce renderings of proposed baseball stadiums that could have transformed cities across the U.S. had they actually been built. The extremely realistic visualizations, posted last week on Vivid Seat's blog, show what the buildings would look like in 2018 in their urban contexts. Many of the stadiums incorporate space-age futurist features, like the glass bubble of the Brooklyn Dome, or the sliding The Shed-esque canopy of the Pontiac Dome. Ultimately, these expensive flourishes may have been what doomed the projects—many of these structures would be barely feasible with today's technology and budgets, much less with what was available fifty years ago, when some of them were proposed. The detail of the renderings has a way of making all of the designs look reasonable, though, and even the most Jetsons-y designs seem to fit into their modern settings. And given the superlatives other football stadiums have recently reached, these designs don't seem like long shots.
David Beckham’s saga to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami has taken yet another turn, as the soccer superstar prepares to present plans for a 78-acre soccer campus before the Miami City Commission this Thursday. Beckham and his MLS expansion partners have scrapped plans to build the breezy, Populous-designed stadium on land that they already own in Miami’s Overton neighborhood, and are instead looking to develop the publicly-owned Melreese Country Club. Beckham has teamed up with local businessmen and MLS partner Jorge Mas of infrastructure firm MasTec to bring a new, $1 billion proposal for 'Miami Freedom Park' before the city. As the Miami Herald reports, plans for the country club had been kept scarce until yesterday, when Mas took to Twitter to reveal the project’s first rendering and a proposal fly-through. Beckham and Mas will argue before the City Commission to put the redevelopment to a public vote in November. If successful, the golf course would be split between a 73-acre, privately funded campus that would include a soccer stadium, retail, office space, and a hotel complex, while Beckham's Miami Freedom Group would also pay to convert the golf course’s remaining 58 acres into a public park. The proposed soccer stadium looks to be a marked departure from what was revealed in 2017. The new scheme sees an arching swath of buildings cut through Melreese, and the rounded, 25,000-seat stadium (topped with curving canopies reminiscent of an aperture) will anchor the surrounding development. Miami New Times points out, Melreese is currently privately-run and used mainly for golf, which has a notably deleterious effect on the environment. AN will update this story pending the result of the July 12 meeting.
Gensler has replaced New York firm SHoP Architects on the design for the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. SHoP had revealed its designs for the Cleveland Cavaliers' basketball stadium, known as "The Q," in December 2016. Work was scheduled to begin on the $140 million project the following year; however, work was delayed for a number of reasons. A spokesperson for Gensler confirmed to AN that Detroit-based stadia specialists Rossetti, who worked with SHoP on the original project, remain involved. Renderings given to AN by Gensler show the arena's overall design is mostly unchanged. Gensler's design team will come mostly from its Washington D.C. office and be spearheaded by Ryan Sickman, who holds the position of Firmwide Sports Practice Area Leader at the firm. Len Komoroski, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO, commented that Gensler was "well-positioned" for the "extensive transformation" of the 24-year-old arena. "Their experience and global foot print are a great match for this project and the image of Cleveland that will be projected around the world from The Q" he continued in a statement, adding: "The project is off to a great start and we look forward to seeing this unique, impactful transformation come to life." Surprisingly, another collaboration between the two firms wasn't on the cards, despite Gensler and SHoP having previously worked together on the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, another stadium revamp. The former was completed almost exactly a year ago today. In 2013, SHoP's design for a New York City F.C. stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was given the boot amid opposition. "I like the idea of a soccer venue in New York City… What I'm not crazy about is the fact that they want to take public park land in the process," said New York City Comptroller John Liu at the time regarding plans to plonk the 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in the park. After scouting the Bronx, Columbia University and Belmont Park in Nassau County, and failing to secure a stadium site, New York City F.C. is still on the hunt for a home. Despite only being 22 years old, the Quicken Loans Arena is one of the oldest facilities in use on the National Basketball Association circuit. SHoP's design featured a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge. This fenestration reveals an undulating arrangement of what appears to be wood panels which, given their location well inside the facade and north-facing orientation, don’t seem to serve any shading purpose. Aside from aesthetics, entrance and exit gangway areas will witness an increase in space, thus aiding circulation—a necessity considering The Q hosts more than 200 events every year.
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.