The Nats New Home: Stern & White

Sw_aerial

Kind of like the Republican Party. Anyway, we’re not going to get into the economics of it, or what it’s going to mean for its surrounding community (though feel free to comment), but this is what the Nationals’ new home is going to look like. Lots of concrete and glass in cubic volumes. Monumentalish, in an I. M. Pei sort of way. What will they call it? The Pork Barrel? The White Elephant? Barry Field? Your guess, as good as ours.

11 comments… add one

  • Who designed it?

    john March 14, 2006, 8:51 pm
  • Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK).
    “You were looking for something fresh. You were looking for something exciting and unique to Washington, D.C.”
    Ugh. An article on it is here.

    Earl March 14, 2006, 9:17 pm
  • It still has to get built. Given time, I’m sure Linda Cropp and Marion Barry will find a way to screw things up~
    As far as what it will mean for the surroundng community, that area is primarily a light industrial zone so it will represent a significant improvement. Whether its the optimal site is, of course, another matter.
    I won’t debate the economics except to say that it should prove a relative boon to the local DC economy – but only because of the unique nature of the District of Columbia. Its very small and in many cases, dollars you pull in to a Nats game would otherwise be spent outside the District in either MD or VA.

    Craig March 15, 2006, 6:53 am
  • I sure hope all that glass is bullet proof.
    Does anyone know what all the extra stuff tacked on is? Commercial space? Residential?

    lp March 15, 2006, 10:44 am
  • As a DC commuter, let me just say that Marion Barry’s not in charge, he’s on probation. And Linda Cropp is just trying to make sure DC’s not spending enormous amounts of money building something that MLB has every incentive and resource to build. Social programs and schools come slightly before welfare to Bud Selig. The Nats exceeded all expectations in revenue last year and as DC isn’t going anywhere, there’s a tremendous amount of security in investing in this place. Allowing DC to try to spend its meager resources trying to improve itself, its people, and reduce crime is a win-win for everyone.
    The extra space is likely to be for all those luxury boxes and conference spaces. That’s what lobbyists and gov’t workers do with their summer evenings, Abramoff or no Abramoff.
    Those clean white boxes in the background are funny and in no way reminiscent of the neighborhood.

    rk March 15, 2006, 10:57 am
  • The “extra stuff” is supposed to be commercial – retail, restaurants, etc. I just noticed how much the triangular bldg in the foreground, which will be the Nats offices, looks like the East Bldg of the National Gallery of Art (designed by I.M. Pei). It has an acute-angled corner like that, which has a little worn spot where people can’t resist touching it.
    The clean white boxes in the background represent the artist’s unwillingness to draw what’s actually there.

    E in DC March 15, 2006, 4:30 pm
  • Some of the buildings also relate to Pei’s campus for a girl’s boarding school, circa 1970.

    john March 15, 2006, 11:28 pm
  • Can we get some professional thoughts from the architects running this site? Do they like it? Why no Camden Yards retro look? Is this what future ballparks will look like?

    Sam March 16, 2006, 9:38 am
  • I guess that means me, since YF is just in the business of deriding architects, not being one. I guess I’ll take on his mantle for the moment, Sam. So here goes:
    This image is a generic prettified watercolor of what is likely an antiseptic stadium geared towards club seats, luxury boxes, and advertisers, with perhaps a nod to improved sight lines for the average paying fan. It’s probably better than RFK by a longshot, but that’s not saying a whole lot – I have gone to one baseball game there and it was an awful experience. That being said, this rendering is highly insubstantial, and no basis for sound criticism, though I will take a shot anyhow. I hesitate to make any statements about how it works with the city (I lived in DC for one year about 15 years ago) since I am not a local and have little expertise on that. As far as it’s “style”, it looks like it is trying to project a touch of the more recent (and very self-serious) modern federal architecture (like Pei Ingo Freed’s Reagan Building – a hideous monstrosity) while showing a touch of the old (the double-decker bleachers in right catch my eye). Let’s just say that HOK Sport does a ton of stadia for a reason: they are competent. Which is about the best I can say for them, unfortunately. I wouldn’t call it artistry, which matters to some people and not to others. On the other hand, baseball stadia aren’t the easiest canvas for art, either. Still, it looks like it could be just about anywhere, and I mean that negatively. Unlike some of the more recent investigations of public sports architecture in Europe, which, though they are modern and perhaps non site-specific in the traditional sense, still test the eye and mind on both artistic and spatial levels.
    Back to baseball.

    SF March 16, 2006, 11:00 am
  • > “YF is just in the business of deriding architects.”
    I don’t know what brought that bit of bile on, but even SF knows that’s massively disingenuous. (Is this a joke? ) I have little argument with any of SF’s other comments save for his suggestion that it could be “just about anywhere.” It seems to me, as he notes, very DC-specific in its allusions to the monumental modernist architecture of the capital, and in particular the work of I.M. Pei. This is not necessarily something to recommend it. On the otherhand, it could have been a more classical design (see the recent WWII memorial), a la Soldier’s Field in Chicago. I guess i’m going to reserve judgment. I would note that this structure has some very serious grade issues to address, and how it handles them (ie, how it funnels people in and out of the stadium) are going to be keys to its success or failure. It also seems that having the structures fronting the street as rectilinear blocks set off from the ovular stadium is kind of awkward, as is that oblique corner, in the bottom right of the drawing here. Is that ramp the main access point? If so, why not put it throught the Pei-like structure that comes to a point along its side. Looks like it could be better resolved. And of course you worry that the whole thing leaves you cold and uninspired.

    YF March 16, 2006, 11:42 am
  • Yes, it was a joke.

    SF March 16, 2006, 12:02 pm

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