We all had a good celebration, didn't we? Now it's back to some fretting and wondering. Even though the Twins have signed the lease, the railroad issue remains unresolved, and the land owners are getting even more lawyered-up. Though everyone's talking like the bulldozers will be getting to work pretty soon, it remains to be seen. There's a big (new, I think) sign at the entrance of the Rapid Park lot which tries to make it look like they'll be there for a while.
So, while there's daylight ahead, I still see some woods. It's too early to really celebrate.
A little bit of miscellaneous for today:
After writing about the Twins design, and the unremarkable way it will appear on the horizon, it occurred to me: that's exactly how you might build a roof-ready park. Could there be a reason behind maintaining such a low profile?
The Vikings released some sketches, but it hardly constitutes a design. It's just a few concepts, and a working draft of a site plan, but I like it. I'll admit, though, that it's hard to imagine anything happening on such a project for at least a couple of legislative cycles.
Another stadium resource became available for really cheap on Amazon, and it yielded even more to think about as I look at the Twins drawings. The introductory essay hits the most important concepts in an eloquent fashion:
Sitting there in Rome -- and not just a craggy old monument -- the Colosseum still oozes action and power. Its form races round in space with that tricky -- but tempting -- ability to grab a 'dynamic' and transmit a sense of that grabbing over the two thousand years of its existence.
We don't just need to be prompted by Technicolor blockbusters with surround sound to remind us of what went on, because it's surely there in the stone and the serried arches that swish past us. the body of the building is, of course, the massive construct that held all those screaming onlookers. Its soul: the now silent field. No plaza, no stage, no altar, no dais -- can approach its aura of dramatic expectation. Yet the architecture is direct, the geometry is obvious, and the architectural rhetoric (despite all the heroism) is remarkably well under control.
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
The Pantheon, by contrast, has to resort to devices -- its magic eye is brilliantly cunning, of course, but nonetheless it is a contrivance.
So there, in a nutshell, is the basic challenge of architecture. How to deftly capture the magic? Especially when dealing with the challenge of the Event: the Game and the assembly are theatre. The body can somehow celebrate the sense of expectation -- at every stage from turnstile, cloakroom, bar, television room, players' tunnel, and even more so when these things intertwine and feed each other. Put a body of people queuing, hustling and rustling, and you have something infinitely more electric than a town of similar size to that crowd. ...
Another vagabond's memory, this time from South Carolina: after an hour's drive from the airport, through lush and well-tempered countryside, there was a sudden vision. Like Bluebeard's castle on acid, an enormous, beautiful thing loomed up out of the trees: not apparently surrounded by anything in particular. This, the stadium of Clemson (and its University which was there, somewhere under the trees) seemed to come out of a fairytale. It had class, it had guts and it certainly had presence, though oddly enough, I don't remember much about the architecture except, like the team, it felt GREAT.
Clemson Memorial Stadium
So we have the stadium as point of arrival, as point of focus, and in terms of urban theory: the point of departure. From a well-honed, well-sited, and (I would suggest) a well-infested event structure we can conjure up a wonderful 'town' of the 21st century.
In our day-to-day survival, we have moved into the world of the hybrid. We live in the reality of the folded-over experience, with fun-and-games as seriousness: one activity as a trigger for other activities, with a crowd rumbling through the turnstiles with a variety of needs or indulgences to be tapped. The best and most ingenious architects are celebrating and articulating the magic of the event -- with a giant arch or a sweeping curve; a slithering, moving canopy; a preying, gesticulating gangway or a striding leg or two on the go. Yet simultaneously they are beginning to incorporate witty combinations of activity; some circumstantial, some entrepreneurial and many 'inspired'.
This bears repeating:
The best and most ingenious architects are celebrating and articulating the magic of the event -- with a giant arch or a sweeping curve; a slithering, moving canopy; a preying, gesticulating gangway or a striding leg or two on the go.
This nicely sums up the drama which I think is still missing from the Twins design. I know that they have a lot of logistics to figure out first, but let's hope that someone within the organization harbors dreams of great architecture -- not just a functional facility or revenue machine. Truthfully, aspiring to great architecture might just be the best thing they could do for their bottom line.
I originally christened my site "Ballpark Magic" because that's what I always felt out in rusty old Met Stadium. That place, for all it's chain link fencing, really did embody the magic of the event of a baseball game. And this is the standard by which we should consider all of the plans we see for the new park:
Will the architecture celebrate the magic of the event?
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The first passengers are about to arrive, but the switch is set for the wrong track (those guys walked all the way out to correct it)
Also warming things up are these planters.
"I've never seen them do that before," said a Metropolitan Club waiter as I snapped this picture.
More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.
I love views like this. They show just how much Target Field shimmers. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
Lots of people are doing it.
The sculpture on which millions of kids will one day pose.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Delmon Young getting warmed up
Circulation building with construction team on top
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Outside, lots of window space
A slightly different elevation drawing, again viewed from Fifth Street, with some labels. (Click to enlarge.)
The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).
Home Plate Box, Section 111, Row 8 or 9-ish (Click to enlarge greatly.)
The green in question (click for very large version)
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
End of the line.
Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
This is where chain link is being replaced with fencing which matches the plaza
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Infield dirt used as accents
The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
Directly above the ceiling here is the hidden concourse which served the upper deck prior to the renovation. That concourse was closed off to the public, but became a service level for ballpark employees. It's one of the many quirks which will be lost when the wrecking ball takes the place away.
Reverse stairway view
Up inside the circulation building. (That's the LRT platform visible through the windows.)
Gate 3 ticket window
2007, Noah's first game (Torii's last)
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)