Proposed Oakland A’s stadium. Source: Bjarke Ingels Group

I was in Silicon Valley last week while plans for the new Oakland A’s ballpark were revealed. Between the numbers and images flying around, I got to thinking about Rangers’ stadium taking shape in Arlington.

I’ll stop right here and say that the last baseball game I attended was a Chicago Cubs’ game (against lord knows who) in the late 1980s (I was a plus-one good friend). I’ve never cared for sports or the foam-fingered, face-painted, booze-sopped civic pride they engender.  So please don’t take this column as some sort of shot at baseball – this is about creating useful architecture.

First, it’s interesting that the in-person audience for professional baseball appears to be shrinking. Ranger’s Stadium is slimming from 48,114 seats to an estimated ~42,000. The Oakland A’s are also proposing a smaller, 34,000-seat stadium – their current digs seat 63,000 and were shared with the departing Oakland Raiders.

(more…)

A building no longer relevant to its neighborhood

As part of my research into Copenhagen’s BIG architects, I watched a recent interview with founder Bjarke Ingels titled Different Angles.  A story he told dovetailed with something I’ve been thinking.  He talked about visiting an abandoned 2,750-year-old Synagogue in northern Iraq. He found out that it had only become derelict in the past 50 years when cultural hostility saw the congregation move to Israel. In the space of 50 years, a nearly three-millennia-old building fell to ruin because it was no longer relevant to the community.

Architects, he said, could build structures that physically endure, but they can only last as long as they are relevant.  Sometimes relevance equates to their ability to be repurposed.

(more…)

I’ve heard the Olympics are over.  One thing fans didn’t see in Seoul, South Korea, were the as yet unbuilt, Cross # Towers designed by Denmark-based BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).  BIG employs over 450 staff in offices in Copenhagen, London, and New York City. Founding Partner Bjarke Ingels graduated architectural school in the 1990s and founded BIG in 2005 after founding his original firm PLOT in 2001.  Awards? He has a wall full.  Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Rice? He’s taught at them all. In 2016, Ingels was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine. Oh, all this and he’s 43.

BIG is the second architecture firm I’m begging to come to Dallas (Studio Gang was first).

(more…)