Stadium architects asked to imagine future ballpark, go mad with power

Populous, the stadium-architecture company that changed its name from HOK because it wasn’t pretentious enough, has seen the future of baseball stadiums, and dear lord:

Seats made of dirt and grass! Windows you can’t see through because there are images projected on them! Some kind of neon pneumatic-tube monorail thing to whip people past the stadium at high speeds! And, for good measure, a square home plate and bases that are several feet off the foul line, because baseball’s rules are just stuck in the past, man.

SI.com is predictably breathless about all this CGI futurism, since they’re the ones who asked for it, and it would presumably be churlish to say, “We asked Populous what stadiums will look like in 16 years, and they used that as an excuse to just go take a lot of drugs and play with Photoshop.” But it had to be hard with quotes like this one:

“Technology is keeping people in their homes,” [designer Greg] Sherlock said. “We reversed that notion, and in this urban context, this park-like setting is the community living room where you go to get super technology at your fingertips.”

Whoa, it’s like, it’s like. Whoa.


17 comments on “Stadium architects asked to imagine future ballpark, go mad with power

  1. And this whole time, I thought I was just joking when I said the stadiums of the future would be made up of at least 50% club seats and suites.

  2. “Populous, the stadium-architecture company that changed its name from HOK because it wasn’t pretentious enough…”

    True LOL line of the day.

    Of course, you’re not supposed to take this kind of futuristic concept too seriously. Like “concept cars” at auto shows. It’s more about presenting some ideas for consideration. Personally, I kinda like the hillside.

  3. I’m surprised it wasn’t 100% luxury suites. The lack of technology isn’t what is keeping me away from the ballpark. It’s the high price of gas, parking, tickets, concessions, PA system that’s too loud, annoying & bright video boards, bombardment of advertising, a DH making $15M who can’t hit his own weight, a lousy team, long bathroom lines, 4 hour games, instant replay & many, many other cheap entertainment options. If anything, there’s TOO MUCH technology in the ballpark. I don’t go to a game to play with an app, I go to watch a ballgame. Yeah yeah, I know. I’m a fossil, get off my lawn, etc etc.

  4. You may or may not be a fossil, MP, but you certainly aren’t alone.

    Baseball is doing very well financially. Although I loathe the used car salesman in chief, I am forced to give him some credit for creating the business concepts (aka: even people who can’t afford to go to ballgames should pay for our stadiums) that have driven these revenues.

    That said, many of us are worried about the changes that have come to the game. No doubt young readers will call us fossils, but the fact is that baseball has been highly successful for most of its 125 professional years (give or take) without massive changes.

    You can change the stadia all you want, but don’t interfere with the fundamental nature of the game… and some of the modern changes, frankly, risk doing just that.

    The good news is that stadia that seat only the elite will by necessity have to be smaller, and thus cheaper… Though the PSL fees will be astronomical. Now, countdown to some team demanding whatever it is that the ‘design concept’ is trying to put forward…in 3…2….1…

  5. Who knew the foul territory at the Oakland Coliseum would ever come back into vogue?

  6. It looks to me as though it would have a seating capacity of about 18,000, which would lead to higher seat prices.

    Yeah, that’ll bring ‘em to the park.

  7. I would also say that the people who mowed their grass seem to have tied one on before they started.

  8. I noticed that with all the video replay boards they still need a umpire to call the plate. Well at lease he is the only ump on the field, or is that 1 playing a deep SS and another one in foul terr. over there near stand by 3rd base? Either way I lining up with my $1000 for a cheap seat that this ball park. Build it, renovate it a couple of times then blow it up after 15 years of use. Why because fans do not come to an old stadium, WE NEED A NEW STADIUM TO BE COMPETITIVE. Bud Selig fomer Commissioner and Used car saleman ( That is how he made his money, right?)

  9. Urban architects probably rank with government folks in the lowest ratio of meaning per word. So many buzzwords, so little sense.

    The one thing that HOK has not figured out is why stadiums were almost never built downtown in prior decades–the land is too expensive to keep vacant and dormant for most of the year. No matter how hard we try, center field is not going to produce revenue in line with its location.

    The relative collapse of downtown retail to internet commerce and the likely unwillingness of anyone with common sense to live in or next to a stadium will likely mean that stadiums are going to remain black holes of commerce and value in the urban landscape, which will require large subsidies forever.

  10. apparently the side does not allow youtube embeds, so here was the link l tried to post last time

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq1d07gYl8o

  11. Is it me, or is the left field foul pole sitting in the middle of the field with a bunch of random extra space behind it?

  12. I wonder how you score it if a fan in the left field bleachers intercepts the left fielder’s attempt to hit the cutoff man.