Plans for the new Twins stadium were unveiled today. I’m delighted that the Twins will get a new park of their own, but I’m afraid I don’t much like the design. You can read about the park here, and see a slide show of artist’s conceptions of the stadium here. Here is one of the pictures; click to enlarge:
Beginning with Camden Yards, a number of new ballparks have been built across the country. All of them, I think, are more or less retro in style, built to look like the classic urban stadiums of the early 20th century, with smaller dimensions and lots of brick. The Twins’ park will be sized like the other new parks, partly out of necessity–it barely fits on the parcel of land that the County is buying. But the architects decided to deviate from the retro style by giving the park a modern look, with lots of glass separated by light-colored panels of an ambiguous material. I just don’t like it. I’m afraid that after about five years, it will look dingy, tacky and dated.
One more thing that made me roll my eyes, from the Strib’s story:
A thick stand of pine trees beyond the centerfield wall, evoking the forests of northern Minnesota, and the looming presence of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, appeared to be the signature elements of the final design for the Minnesota Twins ballpark when drawings were unveiled this morning.
Huh? A “thick stand of pine trees beyond the centerfield wall?” You want to know what’s actually beyond the centerfield wall? A giant parking ramp. On the other side is the Hennepin County Solid Waste Recycling Center, and if you walk to the park from downtown Minneapolis–a hike, if you start out in the middle of town–you cross above what the Strib describes as “many lanes of traffic” on a walkway. So I’m not sure how successfully they’re going to “evoke the forests of northern Minnesota.”
More than that, I couldn’t find the pine trees. I finally realized what they were talking about; you can see a couple of rows of pine trees inside the stadium but beyond the fence in this picture:
Someone please tell me that this is not the lamest design element in the history of architecture! The Yankees have monuments beyond their centerfield fence; the Royals at least have a fountain. A row of pine trees? Visitors will snicker at that for years to come.
Still, if you compare it to the Metrodome, it doesn’t look half bad. As long as we don’t have a lot of springs as cold as this one.
To comment on this post, go here, where a lively discussion of baseball stadiums is in progress.