14 September 2005

SF Weekly analyzes ballpark design

An engaging report by SF Weekly's Tommy Craggs discusses the evolution modern ballpark design, and how the design presented last month by Lew Wolff (drawn up by 360 Architecture) fits into the picture. There are excellent quotes by consultant John Pastier and architect/writer Phillip Bess, who wrote the excellent treatise on ballpark architecture, City Baseball Magic. The article also delves into the retro trend and the New Urbanist movement, from which the Oakland concept was spawned.


Anonymous said...

Is the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati considered "Retro?" I don't see much brick in the design, but a lot of white steel...looks pretty cool. As for future ballparks, if it isn't "Retro," what other Architectural designs/styles could be used?

Marine Layer said...

GABP is not considered so much a retro park as it is a thematic park. The seating bowl has a contrast of modern and retro - one side has a curved, contoured grandstand while the other is straight with abrupt angles. There are far too many modern elements (the CF restaurant, the gap in the upper deck for it to be considered retro. There are some that consider the white and beige throughout GABP to be a little bland or antiseptic. Petco is a thematic park too, but most of the theme is in the exterior. The Miami design looks very modern to me with its metal paneling and roof. Personally, I'd go with a fairly subdued design that blends into a neighborhood rather than defines it. The Oakland design approaches that idea.

Maury Brown said...
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Anonymous said...

By the way, any updates as to where Wolff is in this process? Hasn't he said that he needs to give an update to MLB by next Spring? Is that kind of a deadline?

So, what do we look for that tells us this is well on its way to happening? And what, if any "drop dead" date is there in place that says that an Oakland ballpark is no longer viable?


Marine Layer said...

Wolff hasn't given a hard deadline of any kind, but he has said wants the process for the land acquisition and zoning for his project to be proceeding well by Opening Day 2006. He hasn't said what he might do if little happens by Opening Day, but it's fair to say that if progress isn't good, he'll start looking elsewhere during the season - first in the East Bay, then beyond. The heavy lifting at this point has to come from the city, who needs to facilitate the land deals and rezoning. Wolff asked for a person in City Hall to be dedicated to the project at the end of August. I have not yet heard if anyone has been hired or assigned to manage it from within City Hall.