October 17, 2016 | Architecture Community
When you think of architecture, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is the enormous skyscrapers they see downtown on their way to work. The huge buildings with windows glaring in your eyes scream great architecture at you. Some may think of luxurious homes that feature some great architectural features. However, have you ever stopped to think how far and how advanced that sports stadiums have now become? Architecture has dived deep into the world of sports, presenting cities with jaw opening stadium designs with state of the art technologies.
Take a look at San Francisco’s 49ers Levi’s Stadium, built in 2014. It’s basically a smart stadium. About 70,000 fans can pack into the arena and connect to Wi-Fi and 4G networks while enjoying the game. There’s an app to go along with the stadium that lets fans do multiple things, including knowing where the closest bathroom is and how long the wait is. Want food but don’t want to leave your seat? No problem, as the app allows fans to even order food from their seats and have it brought to them. Being located in Silicon Valley, it’s only fitting that the stadium is packed with innovative features that allow fans to enjoy the experience of the game. Aside from being technologically advanced, the design of Levi’s has allowed for them to have a museum, an expandable outdoor venue, the NFL’s largest lower seating bowl and an LEED gold certificate for implementing strategies that are energy efficient, save water, and provide high maintenance enhancements.
The Minnesota Vikings recently played in their new $1 billion stadium, which really looks like something else. The design of the stadium is very different compared to your usual arena. Pushing away the retractable roof idea, the designers went with having large swinging doors made from “space-age plastic” called ETFE, which allows for sunlight to drop into the stadium. The roof was purposely made angled sharply, due to the snowy conditions in the area. Ultimately, the architectural style of this stadium provides the home team with the best advantage; having an acoustically reflective roof. The unique roof redirects the noise onto the visitor’s team sideline. This definitely must be true since the Vikings are undefeated still, somewhow.
The Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center building will be turning heads for sure. The design is very unusual but pays tribute to Milwaukee’s architectural heritage and the area's environment. Most of the building will be made up of patented zinc shingles, which will be overlapping the glass facade strips. We’ve never seen such a design and shape of a stadium that features these materials, but it’s sure to cause some stir when the Milwaukee Bucks call this home.
Maybe the most anticipated stadium yet to be finished will be the ultimate design. The new Little Caesars arena will be home to the Detroit Red Wings. The design is unique in that around the stadium will be housing retail shops, restaurants, offices, and apartments. The whole area will be an entertainment center for the city. The stadium will have a glass roof that will form an indoor street area that will serve as the arena’s concourse, with an outdoor plaza featuring a large video display. What was in mind for the District was to revolutionize the way stadiums are built these days. Instead of just having a stadium with a highly-priced parking structure, the District allows for patrons to enjoy the game and be able to enjoy their time while in the stadiums' vicinity.
With technology always changing, we can expect to see more stadiums that are out of the normal. Long gone are the days of driving all the way to a stadium in the middle of nowhere and watching the game. The architectural designs will now have much more entertainment that’s closer to a populated city. There’s a lot of creativity that goes into designing a building made for thousands of people. In the past, stadiums were just designed for those who love the sport and like watching the game. Now, architects have to know how to make the design appealing to sports fans and non-sports fans. Even though it’s not hard to do so, we can absolutely expect much more innovating and eye-catching designs on the streets. Some may be appealing while others may leave you scratching your head. So the next time you find yourself at a sporting event, make sure to admire the architectural style of the stadium and take notice of how the times have changed.