Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"It's not the mayor's fault that the stadium collapsed!"

Wonder of wonders, we got ourselves a real live stadium design! For those that haven't seen the four drawings released by HOK and the DCSEC, click here.

I've probably spent an hour of my Tuesday studying and staring at these four pictures. At first I was thrilled. It's like being shown a picture of a future new car or a new home and you're all excited because it's just that -- new.

Let's start with what I like.

Despite the fact the rounded exterior is sort of reminiscent of Shea Stadium, I do like the contrast between the lines and curves that you can see in the above drawing. It's an interesting visual, and it's not something you see much anymore in baseball stadiums. I was never a fan of the exposed steel look.

I think I'm going to like the offset right field section (red arrow above), despite what I've heard elsewhere. It's different, and it's one of the elements that save the inside seating bowl from looking eerily similar to Shea or Dodger Stadium.

I like the curved exterior look you get in the above picture. It's a departure from the recent brick and steel looks, with a nod back to the modern Yankee Stadium. However, I would have preferred an exterior that looked more like this.

However, I think the main seating bowl (above) is just not good at all. I mean, there are four decks there, with the upper deck and the press box in the clouds. Who knows, maybe they'll install those coin-operated viewing machines up there so you can actually see the field.

The seating bowl is more evocative of boring places like Shea Stadium or the Oakland Coliseum. Of course, the design is not nearly as bad as those two stadiums. But in regards to the main seating bowl, there are a lot of very clean lines that remind one of a dual-use football stadium like Shea. But like I mentioned, the offset right-field section helps in that regard.

Like others have mentioned, I worry most about the view from behind home plate. Many ballparks are beautiful because of the skyline. What are we going to get, parking garages and the DOT building?

All in all, I like it because it's new. But the newness factor will wear off and we'll have to live with the place for a generation, at least.

A few things like the skyline and the height (altitude, even) of the seating worry me. From the drawings alone, I'm not overwhelmed. We'll have to wait for more details, I guess.

EDIT: I'm a bit more optimistic after seeing MissChatter's report from the unveiling. This picture in particular gives me some hope that it'll turn out OK.


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