San Diego and St. Louis may have just won stadium vaportecture porn

The cities of San Diego and St. Louis released new stadium promo videos yesterday, and … I’m sorry, I already boggled at these once for Vice Sports, you’ll just have to go read my remarks there.

Or if you just want to boggle on your own, the videos are linked below. In fact, let’s make it a game: How many ridiculous things can you spot in the videos before checking my list? No peeking!

Rams stadium to serve “regular fans” by giving them place to drink beer and not watch the game

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!

55e61e893f6ba.imageNow, 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.

Bucks arena to include magic basketball that will transform Milwaukee into world of color

MILWAUKEE —The Milwaukee Bucks released a video Thursday showing what good a new arena could do.

Oh, boy! I hope this involves one of those computerized flyovers that are all the rage! Preferably with the arena leaping into action to save Milwaukee citizens from the Green Goblin!

Okay, so, um, floaty basketball that will apparently reorganize molecular structure at the subatomic level into life-generating matter of equal mass. That’s pretty good, too!

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.

This is the saddest of all stadium renderings

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.)

AEG throws in towel, says it doesn’t really want to build L.A. NFL stadium anyway

Remember back when AEG was all ready to pick a fight with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke over who would get to build an NFL stadium in L.A., accusing Kroenke’s plan of aiding terrorists and being a menace to low-flying planes? You know, way back last week? Well, scrap all that, because now that everyone just laughed at its reports, AEG says it’s giving up on building a stadium entirely:

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.

Warriors redesign arena to stop jokes that it looks like a toilet seat

Renderings! The people have spoken, and the Golden State Warriors have listened, redesigning their planned San Francisco arena to look less like a toilet seat:

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.

Braves stadium development to feature lens flare, violations of space-time continuum

Renderings! The Atlanta Braves have ‘em, showing what the new pretend urban neighborhood around their new Cobb County stadium will look like when complete! Look, here’s one now:


  • There will be a mix of modern buildings and retroish buildings, because that’s what people want in their fake urban neighborhoods.
  • The surrounding development will include some small parking lots, with nobody much parking in them, despite a game going on at the time.
  • Some cars are clearly visible on the roads while others are just a blur of head- and taillights, presumably because the architects are those aliens who slipped something in Kirk’s coffee to accelerate him to multiple times normal human speed.
  • 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.

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. 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.

AEG still insisting it may build L.A. stadium, someday, maybe

AEG’s Los Angeles football stadium plans may have been going nowhere fast even before owner Philip Anschutz put the company up for sale and then took it back off the market but booted stadium czar Tim Leiweke, who ended up running the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ parent company, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on building a new stadium for no NFL team in in particular:

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 other sites 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!