Welcome to Stadiafile, a blog devoted to the research, reflection and discussion of stadiums and sport venues past and present. Stadiafile will become a forum, a depository, a think tank, and a place to grapple with the wonder and the magic of going to stadiums and with our disappointments and our hopes for the next generation of this architecture for the masses.
I grew up going to Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens, an utterly flawed yet magical building where I developed an interest in the Mets, in architecture and particularly the architecture of sport. Perhaps because of my formative years spent in this troubled building, I have at once an extreme amnesty and a strong discontentment with the design of stadiums. I have never been in one that I don’t love some part of and I have never been in one that I can’t find some fault in. I really enjoyed the Kingdome in Seattle; almost universally detested, I really enjoyed going to Mariners games as a kid on summer holiday. Looking back, how could you not be in awe of such an awesomely huge interior space? It was wider than the Seattle Space Needle is tall! It had the largest concrete roof in the world. It was wonderful, brutal modernism and as an architect I am hardwired to love it. On the flip side, I found Yankee Stadium underwhelming. I found “The House that Ruth Built” cramped and cold. The upper bowl was uncomfortably steep, the seats under the upper deck dark and dismal and the inner walkways with their nine-foot-high ceilings banal – incongruous with the home of the great New York Yankees.
Every stadium I go to, every one, I get that exciting sensation in my gut. I had it first time I went to Shea Stadium as a kid. I had it when I went to Autzen Stadium as a college student. I had it when I went to the Knick game in January. It is an excitement that keeps me coming back to stadiums for an afternoon out and as a topic to ponder and speculate on.