Friday, December 22, 2006

Why Not Tall?

Intown Will wonders why--after seeing the elevations for the new Downtown ballpark--the structure is "submerged" rather than taller. I have not seen reasons from Struever themselves, but here are my guesses:
  1. Part of the charm of choosing to live around a ballpark is being able to see into the ballpark. The lower profile allows residents of Rolling Mill Hill to see the diamond action.
  2. At the ballpark feedback meetings I went to, one of the more constant refrains was from those who argued that the sight-lines from So-Bro to the river should be as unobstructed as possible. Perhaps the lower outside wall--which the "submerged" bowl allows--reflects those concerns.
  3. One of the other expressed concerns fielded by developers at the public meetings was the wish for fans to have unobstructed views of Downtown from their seats in the ballpark. A low outside wall allows a wider horizon for fans to enjoy Downtown as a backdrop for their backstop.
  4. The natural contour of the site allowed developers to create entrances so that fans could enter at the same level as their seats, rather than climbing stairs or taking elevators. Would that profile with a taller wall look rather odd? Does a shorter wall minimize some sort of visual imbalance that would not exist on level ground?

1 comment:

  1. For the record, I don't mind the way the Sounds stadium nestles into its hillside site. As you point out, the designers were tasked with preserving downtown and river views, so the placement and low profile make a lot of sense. I was (and am) curious about that outbuilding on the first base side, though. I think a building that's a full story in height along Gateway and built closer to the street might provide a better transition to the mid-rise condo next door and wouldn't impact views much. Another possibility: keep the outbuilding hunkered down but hide it behind a (low) retaining wall or landscape buffer so it's not visible from Gateway.