When you’re locked in a flamewar with the legislators you need to pass your football stadium funding plan, what can you do to get people excited about it again? Release new renderings of what the stadium might look like if it ever gets built!
Now, sure, you or I might look at this and think, “Wow, those upper deck seats are going to be a million miles from the field, sitting atop two (or three?) levels of luxury suites and looking down even on the scoreboard.” But that’s not how HOK designer Eli Hoisington thinks of it:
“There’s a trend where everything is luxury, everything is suites now. And we put the general die-hard St. Louis fan front-and-center, embedded in the experience.”
Hoisington’s example of “front-and-center”: Fans will get a three-story brewpub on the outside of the stadium, where they can buy beers and look out at the Mississippi River. Also a 30-foot-wide observation deck for looking at, again, not the game.
Here’s where I would normally make a joke about a slow, muddy river being more entertaining to watch than the Rams, but you know what? This isn’t about what the Rams have done on the field lately, or what they’ll do in the future, or even whether diehard fans might enjoy watching the team through good times and bad, because that’s what diehard fans do. This is about stadium designers thinking that the best thing can do for “regular fans” is give them a really big place to get drunk while watching the game on TV monitors. The saddest part of which is that in the modern NFL-watching experience, it may actually be true.
I’m not sure which I like best about this, the disclaimer that the arena won’t actually look like it’s depicted in the video (the magic basketball, presumably, will look exactly like this), or the bit that shows all six of the Bucks’ one championship banner being lowered from the rafters. Promotional videos are just awesome.
As friend of FoS Andrew Ross just remarked, “Is that a rendering or did they just stack some post-it notes on a printout of Google Maps?”
(For those wondering, it’s a “three-dimensional rendering” supplied by Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez of plans for a new soccer stadium next the the Miami Marlins stadium. Which may or may not be a bad idea, depending on how much the various subsidies team owner David Beckham would be demanding would come to. But man, does Suarez’s office need a budget for a better graphic designer. Or at least some fresh post-it notes.)
The sports and entertainment conglomerate is no longer in discussions with the NFL or any teams about the project, company officials said Monday.
“I think it’s fair to say we have turned our attention to proceeding with an alternative development,” AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said.
That “alternative development” would be expanding the L.A. Convention Center and building a new hotel near AEG’s L.A. Live entertainment complex. I’ll let Heywood Sanders comment on whether that’s a good idea or not, but for stadium purposes, AEG has officially given up on its plan after finding nobody with an NFL team willing to give them a share of ownership in exchange for providing the stadium. Which means we now must say goodbye to one of the most cracktastic pieces of vaportecture ever:
Farewell, giant translucent shoulder pads. The world of pretend stadiums won’t be the same without you.
Apparently the Atlanta Falcons‘ new stadium is going to feature action-movie music, video boards on every available surface, dozens of places to order expensive food, and no one on the field actually playing football. This is truly the NFL’s dream future.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross say it now looks more like a Sony Discman, which is both true and also a more pleasant image for your $1 billion arena. (It’s about time for portable CD players to be retro now, right?)
The whole thing doesn’t look too bad, though unless I’m mistaken it includes a whole bunch of mid-sized buildings that don’t actually exist now, in order to make the arena look less hulking by comparison. And, as always, don’t expect that any of it will actually look like this when it’s built, assuming it gets built — though I think we can safely predict that whatever it ends up looking like, it will definitively not be a toilet seat.
The near future will include a really awful Jack & Jones ad campaign.
Enough lens flare to kill J.J. Abrams.
Really, though, none of this matters, because these are just sketches meant as a sales pitch for businesses to locate in the project (or as the Atlanta Journal Constitution paraphrased Braves VP Derek Schiller’s explanation, “the concept of project’s look, not the final design”). The eventual development could look like this, or it could look like something else, or it could never get built. It’s important to remember that you’re looking at an ad here, even if it’s a slightly more attractive one than that fake Jack & Jones thing.
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.”
Even though the NFL appears to have little interest in coming to Los Angeles, AEG’s plans for a stadium are still in play, said Ted Tanner, the company’s vice president.
Addressing a Los Angeles Convention Center panel last week, Tanner presented updated renderings for Farmers Field, the proposed 78,000-seat downtown stadium, to a group of commissioners and officials.
I guess anything is possible, but given that lately more talk has focused on othersites in L.A., this seems more like a pro forma effort to keep AEG’s stadium plans alive on the back burner, at least. But why the announcement now?
The City Council in 2012 approved the stadium deal, but the AEG rights expire in October. Asked if AEG would seek to extend the contract, Tanner said it was too early to say, though others with the company say it is likely it will seek additional time.
Yeah, that’ll do it. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Keeping Our Development Options Open Field!
The “final” renderings of the new Sacramento Kings arena are out, and they look to involve lots of aluminum mesh, an interior designed as a backdrop for a black-and-white minimalist comic (Adrian Tomine, maybe? Hey, he’s from Sacramento!), and hip young white people staring blankly into the sky. (What’s with the guy in the porkpie hat whose arm is permanently attached to his girlfriend?) Commenter MikeM has already dubbed it the Jiffy Pop Arena; other suggested nicknames, disparaging or otherwise, are welcome.
As far as the actual effect on seeing a basketball game goes, it’s tough to tell much from these, except that it follows the typical modern wall-of-luxury-seats-and-screw-those-people-in-the-upper-deck model that I’ve complained about at the Brooklyn Nets‘ Barclays Center. Though if everyone’s more interested in the sky, it doesn’t matter if they can see the game, right?