May 02 2013

Stadiums: Making the Most of Space

Roaring crowds, bright lights, and elaborate shows are all part of the visceral human feeling we have at stadiums. For a long time, people have been fascinated by the experience of large performances. These concerts and sporting events, as well as their buildings, are essential components of the human experience.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Looking at one of our best-known examples, the Colosseum in Rome is demonstrative of the potential impact for such architecture in the city. In ancient Rome, the arena was the functional center of the city during its use. Today, we still feel that same undeniable connection in the Colosseum’s massive presence.

To relate a modern example in a different tradition, the Football Club Internazionale Milano is seeking a new home after nearly a century in Milan’s San Siro Stadium. In its current state, and like many stadiums around the world, it bears little relation with its environs both spatially and socially. This distance between function and connection reduces its potential for positive neighborhood influence.

Stefano Boeri, FC Milan Inter Rendering

In a time when resource use is at a premium and sustainability is paramount, it is negligent to let such an intervention go unnoticed from an urban planning perspective. If we design places that are a part of the natural city fabric – meaning urban proximity, transportation, and services – stadiums can serve as economic drivers and community creators.

New generation stadiums are commercial service centers aimed at full-time use and urban integration. In a presentation for Euroborg Stadium in Groningen, Netherlands, The Stadium Consultancy displayed a “mixed-use” model that provides local commercial and office activities, in conjunction with infrastructure provisions, that can help reduce the “island” effect of large, single-use structures.

Returning to the Milan context, the development of a new stadium is an incredible and rare opportunity. It has the potential to reclaim wasted space, and transform it into a functional nodal center.

Can you identify an underused area such as this one, and how would you reshape it?

Credits: Photographs by Maxwell Vidaver. Images and data linked to sources.

Maxwell Vidaver

Maxwell Vidaver is a graduate student in Urban Planning, Policy, and Design at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, and also holds a B.A. in Geography from Binghamton University, where he focused on urban economic analysis. He is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, and developed an early passion for urban planning and environmental design as an avid cyclist, mechanic, and commuter. His planning interests include exploring alternative transportation options, maximizing energy efficiency in new urban projects, and improving access between city users and government. Max’s goals are to help promote smart design initiatives, and facilitate community-city collaboration in order to create more sustainable, as well as comfortable, urban environments.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 at 9:13 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, Infrastructure, Land Use, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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