March 14, 2006

I'd Walk 607 Feet for a New Stadium

First, Lease Day. Now, Stadium Day. Next, Owner Day? (Followed shortly, one hopes, by Tar-and-Feather Jim Bowden Day.) But today... today was a day to celebrate mediocre architecture. I'm sorry, I know this is good news, but I'm underwhelmed. It's exactly what I was expecting. Click here for WaPo's virtual tour of the animated mock-ups of the theoretical stadium.

Miss Chatter was all over this story. I continue to be amazed by the industry and ingenuity of the Nats Blogosphere, whose members have obtained press credentials, interviewed leading authors and slashed Jim Bowden's tires. (Ok, not the last one, but a guy can dream.) Other Natmosphere reactions here, here, here, here and here, but not here.

My take: There are a few nice touches... the asymetrical outfield, the grand staircase leading into the stadium, the relationship between the rounded stadium exterior and the sharply-angled team offices. There are a few serious issues... the stratospheric upper decks, the cliched outfield restaurant that Capitol Punishment considers an homage to the 1960's National Park Service aesthetic, the freakin' PARKING GARAGE beyond the outfield! (The first time someone's windshield gets busted, expect a new round of steroid testing.) But overall, the impression is just blah. It's not strikingly ugly. It's safe, it's functional, it's definitely from the same people who brought you the Washington Convention Center.

But really, all that is nitpicking. Any new home buyer can testify that $611 million don't go as far as it ought to in the D.C.-area, and this is what it buys when you have no owner, no single unified vision, and no one to foot the bill for the limestone, glass, architectural flourishes and gold-plated bidets needed to make an iconic stadium. MLB and the city missed an opportunity to craft something great, but I'm confident that 41,000 bleacher bouncin' fans on a summer night can make up for that.


Frank Haynes said...

Wasn't it Kornheiser who wrote something like "For $611 million, it had better be a gold-plated stadium"? Will it be close?

Nate said...

No, but what the hell, it ain't my $611 million. Thank you D.C. taxpayers!

Chris Needham said...

I didn't quite have the Cyclorama in mind when I wrote that, but it's perfect, too!

See also, Mesa Verde Nat'l Park!

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