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More Reacting

April 14, 2007 12:03 AM

It's easy to get carried away when studying the drawings released yesterday. We've been waiting for a long time for this, and it's a joy to pour over these details and begin imagining seeing a game there. At the Metrodome tonight, it was hard to sit still. We've seen the Future, and it will be!

Entry Plaza 4

Detail of Entry Plaza #4 (north entry from Fifth Street)

I was fortunate enough to get a press kit when I arrived at the unveiling event yesterday, and it contained a CD-ROM with high resolution versions of all the images they had posted. These enlarge nicely, so I've been stealing as many free moments as possible today to continue pouring over them for details which get at the true character of what is currently on the table.

Before digging into that, the Twins have made it very clear that these drawings are nowhere near final. In fact, they're a couple of months old and some things have already changed. For example, I've read discussion about the restaurant which is pictured beneath the scoreboard. In the drawings, it's obvious that this would create some obstructed view seats in the upper deck in left field. Well, never fear. That's already been fixed.

The second piece to note is that they've handed about a billion more comment cards, and are serious about getting more input from the fans. Obviously, they won't be able to incorporate everything they hear, but the team readily acknowledges that not everything -- or anything -- is set in native limestone yet. Not even the "fissures," I suppose.

A Few Details

There are five entry plazas (presumably numbered 3, 6, 14, 29, and 34), and it appears that fans may be able to enter at whichever gate is most convenient, rather than the current draconian Metrodome system of meandering up and down long ramps until you get to the gate printed on your ticket. This isn't mentioned anywhere, but the floor plan for the concourse level makes it clear that, since the concourse is 360-degrees around the playing field, and the largest entry point (beyond right field) is near the least number of seats, there's really no reason or means by which you could control where fans go. I hope this is the case, because it's just the right way to do it.

There is also a slender exterior plaza which runs along the northwest side (the garbage burner side), which connects Fifth Street to Seventh Street. The facade and other detailing on this side remains a complete mystery.

Evidence of Club Seating

Indications that club seating (the wider spaced areas above each dugout) will be a major presence in the lower deck

On closer inspection of the seating bowl, there do seem to be indications of where club seating will be, versus regular rows of fixed chairs. If I'm reading this correctly, there is a very large section of club seating directly above each dugout. Between them, behind the plate, is standard seating, as well as outside of them between the bases and the foul poles.

When enlarged, the drawings are detailed enough to show how many rows are in each section, and for the upper decks, how many seats are in each section. I'm still digesting these.

Yesterday I mentioned that it looked like the split upper deck idea had been scrapped. Now I don't think this is the case, but it has been implemented a little bit differently than in St. Louis. This is a bit difficult to describe, but a small number of fans will walk down from the upper concourse to their upper deck seats, while most will walk up another flight of stairs and then up further to their seats. (I'll try to tease and example from the diagrams.)

There are a scant three rows of seats in the lower deck just beyond the right-center wall. This has the potential to be a great spot to watch the game.

The large square-ish section at the left field corner appears to be the Twins' administrative offices. Somebody there will have a great view of the games!

There are 6 levels in the design:

1. Event Level (clubhouses, loading docks, support operations, playing field)
2. Main Concourse (accessible to all fans and commuters on non-gamedays)
3. Club Level (press box is here, portions will be inaccessible to fans)
4. Suite Level (access to all suites)
5. Terrace Level (this is the upper concourse, with access to all upper deck seats)
6. View Level (the uppermost seating only, accessible by stairs from the Terrace Level)

More to come another day...

Reaction to Reactions

People are funny. I remain shocked by how many fans can't get over the lack of a roof. It's as if the park has no value unless it can keep out rain. Most people have no idea that even with a roof, nothing would be heated! I have written about this plenty of times (here and elsewhere), and in the long term we will all be glad we don't have to watch even a single moment of baseball while sitting inside a cold airplane hangar. It's really time to let this one go, people.

Likewise, I'm dismayed by those who oppose the ballpark in principle and have used this opportunity to rehash old arguments. This is another debate which effectively ended when the funding was approved. Yes, our society's priorities are pretty screwed up at times. Yes, this is one of those times. But a lot of people eat more dessert than vegetables. It's a cruel fact of life. So by all means, keep fighting the war, but you've already lost this battle.

Next, I'm a little shocked at some of the hyperbole which continues to spill into the media:

(Earl) Santee called it a "modern-day Wrigley Field."

It is to laugh. No one is going to be mistaking this ballpark for the gem on the north side of Chicago -- unless they are only looking at the distance between the bases.

Attention Twins: It's a mistake to position this as a "New Wrigley." Fans expecting that (who have seen the real thing) will be gravely disappointed -- and it should not be that way. Ours can be a great ballpark on its own, but Wrigley has an elegance which is matched nowhere else. The graceful arc of its main grandstand meets the distinctive outfield bleachers with a delicate touch at each corner. It's a design which does not make any practical sense, but still really sings. The scale of the building is such that it never overwhelms, and the neighborhood is like nothing anywhere else. These are some of the things that make Wrigley magical, and the Twins' new ballpark will not be -- is not designed to be -- in that vein. It's a bad comparison, regardless of how much the architects want to believe that's what they have created.

Forbes Field

Forbes Field

Though I still think it would be an exaggeration, a much more salient comparison would be to Ebbets Field or even Forbes Field, which crammed distinctive but inelegant designs into small spaces and became beloved for their visual quirkiness. Those parks developed organically over decades, but there's nothing saying that the same thing can't be designed in. In fact, that's what I think I'm seeing in these drawings.

Right now, elegant is not a word I would use to describe this design, nor would I use bold. But I would say clever or efficient, as well as evolutionary (not revolutionary) and quirky and even cozy.

In the Strib today, Linda Mack is quoted as saying, "If Frank Lloyd Wright designed a ballpark, this might be close." She was, perhaps, referring to some of the vaguely Prairie-style elements of the facade. But I don't exactly agree, because Wright was all about balance and integration and harmony of disparate elements as well as harmony with the natural aspects of the site. His familiar visual style was not just about looks. It always flowed from deeply held principles about the connection of humans to their surroundings.

Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)

Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)

What remains to be fully realized in this design is the totality of those connections. In other words, it's just too soon to say whether this place will be as comfortable as it looks at first glance, or whether it will rise to the level of great architecture. My inclination is still to say that it has that potential.

Let me know what you think.

Comments


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Great analysis. I like the word "cozy" to discribe this park. Given the size of the space, it's suprising that the field dimensions don't have any real "quirks" to it, like the AT&T or PNC Parks. But not a bad design, at all.

Posted on April 14, 2007 at 1:16 PM by jeff Highlight this comment 1

Rick,

Great insites....I really enjoy reading your site. It feeds my obsession.

2 Questions -

Do you know how the railroad will fit into the final design? When I look at the layout I can see it on the side of the stadium, but I am curious as to what they are actually going to do to integrate it with the stadium.

One of the concerns I have is noise. The stadium is being dubbed as the easiest stadium to get to...but along with that comes noise. On one side you have one of the busiest highways in the state, on the other side you have railroad tracks, and on the perpendicular sides you have 2 more busy streets. Am I over thinking this?

Posted on April 14, 2007 at 1:21 PM by MOJO Highlight this comment 2

Regarding noise, the Metrodome plaza is right now between two roads that I think are just as busy, and I never notice sound being a problem while I'm out there. Inside the stadium would be even quieter. I guess the same would go for the light rail, if that was an concern.

The sound of the cars on the freeway won't be that bad inside the stadium, as it is outside the stadium and I doubt traffic is usually that busy or fast right there. The biggest factor from the freeway will be on the plaza. I'm more worried about the fumes /view/proximity to the freeway on the plaza than I am about the sound.

Posted on April 16, 2007 at 08:12 AM by Craig in MN Highlight this comment 3


This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.



"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.





Click to enlarge greatly. See yourself?









From behind the wind veil



The images on that wall appear to be of great Twins moments in history.



Working on the main concourse right about directly behind the plate.



Large staircases, a staple of recent Populous (nee HOK) projects, are all over the place.



(Click to enlarge greatly)















This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.









Dude, this is NOT a multi-use facility.






The Overlook



Photo by Tyler Wycoff



This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.






You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.



Party deck



Detail of Entry Plaza #4 (north entry from Fifth Street)






This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.



Gate 29 "Carew" is at right.



From about two blocks away you can finally get an idea of what it looks like. Just to my left (but out of view) was a valet parking stand where a limo was idling.



Hooked up









A close-up of the rooftop party deck.






Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P









I know you've seen this, but I can't get enough of it.






Detail showing clubhouse and home dugout (click to see the entire drawing)



Stairs down to Seventh Street now have the start of railings



Is it possible to take a bad picture of this building?






Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...






These stairs will meet the skyway.









Miller Park: Gymnasium with skylight (Source: RP)



The Northstar station.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

Selected Bibliography - Analysis
 


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Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


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Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(2000, large coffee table)
 


Original edition (2000, round)
 


Revised edition (2006, round)
 


(2001, medium coffee table)
 


(2002, small coffee table)
 


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(2004, very large coffee table)
 


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Combines the previous two titles
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Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
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Complete Bibliography

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