16 November 2005


Since I live within a 20 minute walk of Diridon South, I decided to do a fairly in-depth amateur study of the site. One distinctive aspect of the site its shape: it's not a typical square or rectangular city block. The site was formed by city planners who, decades ago, decided that parallel one-way streets were needed in the area. The streets, Autumn and Montgomery, converge just north of Park Avenue. Los Gatos Creek also comes in from the northeast to encroach on available thoroughfare space.

It occurred to me that I had seen a shape similar to this near-trapezoid before. Then it hit me. When Wolff announced his Oakland plan (drawn up by 360 architecture) there were many comparisons to Fenway Park, from its simple two-deck design to the eerie similarities to Fenway's right field corner. So I did a little playing around with Google Earth and came up with the following photos:

Fenway Park

Diridon South Concept
(click picture for larger version)

It just so happened that I was trying to figure out how the PG&E substation at Diridon South could be reconfigured to stay on site, and the picture above has in my opinion the most likely scenario, at least when we're talking about raw land requirements (nearly two acres for the substation). At the same time, I tried to incorporate as much as I could of what I interpreted was in 360's model. It's a fairly tight fit, but it seems to work. It is quite a coincidence that Diridon South is shaped similarly to Fenway. The only other urban ballpark that bears a passing resemblance to Fenway is Jacobs Field in Cleveland, and Jacobs was shoehorned into its 12 acres in a different manner and into a more aggreable lot shape for a ballpark. China Basin has the arcade/promenade act like a mirror image of the Green Monster, but the rest of the park has little in common with Fenway.

Wolff/360 Architecture/Gensler concept

Obviously, some modifications would need to be made to adapt 360's non-site-specific model to Diridon South, but they aren't major. The left field building is cribbed from Petco Park, but it's simply an element that can be easily moved. I find it curious that 360's concept evokes images of Fenway so strongly. Yes, it is in all likelihood a coincidence. But if they wanted to create one that could fit pretty easily into the Diridon South footprint, they're probably 90% of the way there.