Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stadium Design Revealed

--I'll keep updating this post, so check for updates at the bottom.--

The unveiling is going on now. Hopefully they'll have some updates soon.

In the meantime, this NBC4 preview (with wonderfully cheesy 1980s-style computer graphics) will whet your appetite.

If you get NewsChannel 8, they're airing the press conference.

  • The Post has an early look, which will undoubtedly be updated throughout the day.

  • PICTURES!

  • My initial reaction? Meh. It's certainly decent looking on the outside, but there's nothing special about it. It sort of looks like other stadiums (I've heard everything from Comiskey to Shea!). To me, what makes a park is the view it has. Camden Yards is memorable not because of the bricks surrounding it, but because of the gorgeous view of the warehouse and the Baltimore skyline when you're sitting there. PNC park is a favorite because of this jaw-dropping view.

    The new park's on the river. No view of that. It's near the Capitol. No view of that either (from 95% of the seats, at least). What do we get to look at? Parking lots. Even though the graphic says that they want to sink them (probably for another $200 million!), they'd only be replaced by a Gap or an Applebee's anyway.

    There's nothing distinctive about the park. Wooo.... there's a circular restaurant in the outfield (which looks like it was designed for the National Park Service in 1961) and a 'knife's edge' building outside it for team offices. Yawn.

    What's distinctive about it? The high upper deck. The isolated seats. The club seats. The press box in the stratosphere. In short, nothing really all that good.

    It sure looks nice at first, but the closer I look, the more I find to be unhappy with -- or at the very least, to be disappointed with.

    What about you? Any thoughts?

  • Just A Nats Fan was at the unveiling and took a bunch of pictures, including some that I haven't seen anywhere else. They give a more complete picture of the stadium. (This one gives a good idea of the field dimensions, which seem a lot like Jacob's Field) Check out the rest of her post for a recap and more great pics.

  • Nationals Pride has a roundup of photos from the event, as well, including the Ultra Hi Res photos of the drawings. If nothing else, check out this one (low res), which is the elevation profile, showing how high and how far the upper deck is. Depressing, huh?

  • Here's a fairly extensive roundup of blogger reaction.

  • 20 Comments:

    • Easily the best part:

      "Designers said they are trying to figure out a way to put some air under the stands so that they can shake and vibrate like they did at RFK last season and during all those memorable Redskins' games of days past."

      Hooray! Everything else about this stadium is gravy... we'll (likely) have bouncing stands!

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/14/2006 11:33 AM  

    • I'd rather the designers put some time into lowering the upper deck, but...

      Those seats are going to be HORRIBLE, especially down the line.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/14/2006 11:36 AM  

    • I think the pictures on the Post are exactly how the field will look from the upper deck. Man, that's far away.

      Still it's nice enough, but nothing special.

      By Blogger El Gran Color Naranja, at 3/14/2006 1:00 PM  

    • I really wish they'd give us one bird's eye view to get a better idea of the stadium's dimensions. Nothing too quirky, it seems. (Count me among those that detest the tiny ballparks, but remain fond of crazy in-play stadium attributes like Tal's Hill in Houston).

      By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 3/14/2006 1:29 PM  

    • The text of one of the pics lists the dimensions.

      It's smaller than RFK, but it's still almost 380 to the alleys. That's still probably a pitcher's park, even if it's a lot closer to neutral.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/14/2006 1:31 PM  

    • From the renderings on WaPo, it looks like the stadium faces due north. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't most of the people to the right field side of home plate have a sightline to the Capitol Dome, as long as they can see past the parking decks?

      By Blogger JammingEcono, at 3/14/2006 1:33 PM  

    • The Capitol, in effect, sits right in the middle of S. Capitol St. There will certainly be a number of people in the RF area who will have a view of the Capitol, but I'd imagine that most of those would be in the upper deck.

      Traditionally, baseball stadiums are sunken, and with the height of the surrounding buildings to the north, much of the view will probably be obscured for those in the lower bowl.

      That said, it's just a guess based on some fuzzy sketches.

      But if you read what was said about the park prior to today, most everyone acknoledged that there would be a very limited Capitol view, which is part of the reason they went to great efforts to make plazas/concourses where you could have a view.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/14/2006 1:37 PM  

    • This bad boy is already standing in the way (before they begin any other sort of construction).

      And there's no chance of that thing coming down.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/14/2006 1:52 PM  

    • Better view than RFK.

      By Blogger King, at 3/14/2006 4:11 PM  

    • I think "Meh" sums it up nicely. It'll be a brand-new ballpark, and it will have better concessions than RFK. (Home of Deepin' Dots... Ice Cream 'o the Future.)

      By Blogger Nate, at 3/14/2006 4:54 PM  

    • yep, from what I read before the designers tried to get the capitol building into the skyline but the angles were all wrong. when the sun set it would have been right in the batter's eyes.

      By Blogger Ski, at 3/14/2006 5:05 PM  

    • now online: "virtual tour" gives us a look from inside...looks to me that you can *just barely* see the tops of the capitol dome from the right field seats.. :(

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2006/03/14/VI2006031401066.html

      By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 3/14/2006 5:14 PM  

    • Jacobs Field East. Except not as nice.

      By Anonymous A wary fan, at 3/14/2006 5:20 PM  

    • I hope it has the same kind of
      cantilevered roof that RFK Stadium
      has! I love how such a roof can
      cover many fans in the upper deck
      without poles that sit in front of
      seats and block views of the field.
      The support systems on the roof and
      the outside of the stadium are
      successful features and are neat to
      look at. You can appreciate that
      successful design and feel a special gameday mystique, knowing
      that many fans will be in the venue
      and cheer for their team.

      Anaheim Stadium and Kauffman Stadium have this kind of roof.
      Atlanta Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium,
      and Veterans Stadium had it, too.
      I think it is the best kind of roof
      for ballparks!! Thanks. Hail to
      RFK Stadium!!!!!!

      By Anonymous CK, at 3/14/2006 7:47 PM  

    • It seems we want it both ways on the whole stadium: "daring" architecture and not have to pay a nickel for it.

      My take is that the design is pretty good, not great. Given the political/financial pressure that was put on every step of the process they seem to have come out with a project capable of staying within it's means. That is a major accomplishment in and of itself.

      By Anonymous Bristow, Va, at 3/14/2006 8:56 PM  

    • It could look like a giant f-ing roach motel for all I care. It's a stadium, it's in dc, it's paid for.

      I think it looks like the convention center (no surprise there) which is ok; its a decent architectural compromise melding the Hart Senate Office Building with a low rent IM Pei designed structure. It could be a lot worse... at least the people north of Columbia won't be able to say its just a cheap copy of OPACY.

      Let me be the first to say: there's absolutely no way this thing will be done by April 08.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/14/2006 10:13 PM  

    • Chris: does any park built in the last ten or fifteen years have decent seats far past the bases inside the foul poles? The angles in every damn one of them - citizens, jacobs, opacy - bad views all.

      By Anonymous Ed, at 3/14/2006 10:15 PM  

    • Past the bases? Probably a fair point. The ones I had in Philly in the RF section weren't bad.

      My problem has more to do with the upper deck behind the plate. With the two tiers of luxury boxes (on Tony Tavares' orders), the upper deck is both further and higher than it needs to be.

      At least they bumped the press up, freeing up some better seats.

      I do wonder, though, if DC's going to be able to fill all those club seats. Camden Yards rarely does. The Redskins rarely do.

      Of course they're still making money hand over fist if they're not full, but...

      And yes, I know that they're trying to maximize revenue, but I wish there was a fairer balance between the haves and the have-lesses. ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/14/2006 10:18 PM  

    • The luxury/club "seats" are sold to corporations that can afford them, then given out as perks to customers or as favors for employee and management woo-hoo parties. Since those folks are not looking for a baseball game so much as a meeting place, it's not noteworthy that they are rarely filled.

      I was invited to the President's 2-story club hotel room at a Marlins game a few years back and most people there schmoozed about their business ventures, and oh, by the way, I think they're playing a baseball game somewhere out that window. That little weasel Samson was wandering around telling everybody how great he had made the Marlins. Yeah.

      I'm not so interested in the fashion sense of the design, as I think Oriole Park is the perfect throwback ballpark for that aesthetic, but I'm more interested in the technical features. It looks like the right field line parallels the Anacostia, so the right and center fielders will be looking into the Sun on fly ball plays during day games.

      I can't glean the dimensions off the tiny drawings on the web, but if they have plenty of foul territory this means more foul fly balls caught for outs, which you don't get in parks where the stands come up close to the foul lines.

      Otherwise, it looks like a modern office building with a baseball diamond hidden behind it. Not park-like. Not bespeaking of D.C. unless you think of D.C. as a town filled with office zombies who are too busy saving the Free World to get to a ball game.

      I hope to be wowed in person, as these few drawings don't tell me much.

      By Anonymous Bote, at 3/15/2006 1:32 AM  

    • By Blogger wwwwww, at 10/26/2009 9:09 PM  

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