Design at the Stadium

While enjoying a businessman’s special day game the other day, eating my picnic lunch and slowly savoring my overpriced, but delicious Leine’s beer, I couldn’t help but start looking around at things in the ballpark.  I snapped a few pictures which I wanted to share.

It was a beautiful day, the Reds were winning, and I wasn’t hunched over a computer screen.  I began staring off into the Kentucky hills and watching the clouds and boats going by and suddenly I became irked by all the stuff in centerfield.  I know the stadium itself leaves a lot to be desired in terms of design, but the late additions of a boat “hat” to the centerfield press box along with the smokestacks just seemed ridiculous to my better design sensibility.   It’s blocking the view of the river and the real boats and barges. Wouldn’t it be better if we could just see out to the river and not have “Hit it Here” Tundra’s and suburban deck furniture?

Then again, everyone loves the kiss cam, the fireworks during “the rockets red glare,” and the all you can eat buffet at the end of the “boat hat”.  It’s a ballgame, after all.  I doubt a venue where the crowd gets most excited for long-distance t-shirt launches is the same crowd the appreciates subtleties of good design.  I realize this, but what scares me is the thought that this same attitude toward design as entertainment or added stuff is what most people assume to be cool or good.

Here’s a small design detail that I think is good.

The metal seat supports between the plastic red chairs are functional, practical, and have a simple elegance to them. It was the curly cue on the end of the arm rest that particularly caught my attention. It’s nothing flashy or overdone, but this simple detail, repeated for all of the 40,000 seats makes the seats more than just a rented spot to plop down, watch a game, and move on with things.  The detail enhances the experience, elaborates on the place were you rest your hand during the long innings, and gives enough repose in it’s detail to perhaps recall some elegance from a prior era, something I wish this oldest club in baseball could have applied much more throughout other areas of the stadium.

One Response to “Design at the Stadium”
  1. N.M. Cristofaro says:

    Good post to get things started!

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