Baseball in the City

Project: Yankee StadiumThere has been little academic attention given to the design of stadiums. The lack of critical thinking is evidenced in the default formula applied to their design. Tweaked every ten years or so with what are thought to be improvements, the formula is the equivalent to an involuntary response that has done little to transform the condition of the stadium. It has remained an underused and overly embellished mega-structure. While the stadium program unearths many pertinent issues for public space and architecture it is rare to see a full blown stadium offered in design studio. In addition, on the grounds that the stadium is a highly controversial building type; publicly funded for privately owned franchises, this opportunity to re-think its formulation, namely its public aspect and site is well overdue. The studio offers a chance to examine urban sites and scan for opportunities that could provide the conditions for multiple overlapping mass-culture activities including, of course, the sporting event for 65,000 people. It poses questions about the primacy and ownership of infrastructure; how much should be within the building? How much could be shared with the city? How might the question of ownership provide a catalyst for the exploration of the blurred boundaries between the confines of the stadium and the urban fabric? How might the stadium be absorbed within the density of a multi-functioning urban environment? What factors contribute to the success or failure of large sports venues like baseball parks in the city? Questions like these will be addressed through the design of the new Yankee Stadium in New York City.