Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Washington Nationals have presented their plans for their new stadium, after 18 months of negotiations over the financing by the City. It may very well be highway robbery on the part of Selig and the owners. They are splitting the massive profits from the sale of the team to new owners, and the District is picking up most of the tab for the $611 Million ballpark. But I don't live in the District, and I love baseball. So let's have a look at it.

So, it's clearly very different from many recent stadiums. No brick - not even stone. Glass, metal, and concrete. It could be interesting, when it is new. But from what I've seen, concrete buildings often don't age well - think of the water stains and cracking. I'm not sure if I have a better solution for DC, though - this is what most of the buildings in the District look like, especially along M Street SE and K Street NW. It will fit right in. As a fan, though, I would have liked to have seen only 2 decks instead of 3 - it keeps you closer to the field. This was done at PNC Park in Pittsburgh to great effect, I think. It would have helped the stadium keep a low profile, blending in with the fairly short skyline of Washington.

In other baseball news, the World Baseball Classic may be getting more interesting. I still object to it on principle, since it is Bud Selig's idea. And it isn't a good time for it, competing against March Madness and interfering with Spring Training. But it is baseball on TV in March, so I don't argue with that. It looks like the US team is hanging by a thread. If I read the standings and rules correctly, the US has to beat Mexico on Thursday. And if Japan beats Mexico today, they have to lose to Korea tomorrow. I'm still pulling for the US-Cuba finale, but seeing how Korea, the DR, and Puerto Rico have been playing, I'm not sure if that will happen

Team / ERA / OPS
Korea / 1.40 / .827
DR / 2.80 / .878
PR / 2.09 / .823
USA / 4.05 / .918

Korea's pitching and defense have been very good, and the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans have pretty balanced teams. The US has an offensive juggernaut with some very weak outings on the mound. It's worth noting that Japan's stats are also strong, but they would have to win out to have any chance of advancing. Though that is only two games, so it could happen. This is actually pretty exciting.

[pictures from the HOK Sport via the Washington Post]


Redsfan said...

Also worth noting that team defense for the USA is capital-A Awful. The team was assembled to try and bludgeon opponents with offense...though Clemens is an okay guy to have pitching for you, I guess.

Defensively for USA, Michael Young at 2b/ss, Chipper Jones at 3b, and (though I hesitate to say it) Ken Griffey Jr. in CF, are each among the worst fielders at their position in the majors. And SS Derek Jeter might be too, depending on who you ask.

Kelly said...

I think having the stadium built with concrete is horrible. I can't stand concrete buildings, only becuase they look like crap after a couple years.
I do agree, it should only be two levels. But then they make more money with three. As long as they have hots and beer, I will be happy!

DevilsArchitect said...

I love concrete, but for "commodity" buildings it rarely works very well. Works great for museums and art galleries, not so great for secondary schools and apartment buildings. Or stadiums. It requires more design attention and maintenance than it is likely to get in this DC project.

Concrete can be used to impart...
brute strength:
or complexity:

(How many of these buildings can you ID?)

Dan said...

Very nice examples of good uses of concrete. I think I recognize some:
1 - Yale School of Architecture?
2 - TWA Terminal, JFK
3 - Washington Metro (Either the Archives or Mt Vernon Square station)
4 - ?
5 - ?
6 - ?

I'm surprised you didn't use Hollyhock House or La Miniatura as examples. Or maybe you did, I and didn't recognize them.

I agree - get me a foot long and a drink, and almost any stadium is good enough.

Formworker said...

I'm not overly familiar with those two Frank Lloyd Wright houses you mentioned, but they kind of overlap the complexity photo, and I needed to use that particular picture in order to get that architect represented. The photos I posted were projects or architects renowned for their consistent/novel use of concrete. Wright isn't really the first guy you think of for concrete, and it seems to me that the details he liked were more easily (and more often) done in other materials like stamped copper or wood. I can't imagine the skill and patience required to build the forms that produced this.

You've got the first three projects right; architects were Paul Rudolph (Brutalism!), Eero Saarinen, and Harry Weese. The second trio is a monastery by Le Corbusier, a museum by Louis Kahn, and a tomb by Carlo Scarpa. All were built between 1920-1970.

Apologies for the mini-lectures, but hey, this is my thing.