If you build it: Baseball stadium architecture has come a long way since SkyDome opened in the late 1980s

By Jason Rehel
National Post, July 14, 2014

Since 1993, there have been only seven times where the stadium the played host to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was not a brand-new barn. that year, of course, featured Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the now already iconic “nostalgia park” that has gone on to become the template for so many other cities’ efforts to capture the traditions and heroics of eras in a game whose history spans three centuries. That’s meant that in the last two decades, 14 new parks have been featured, and many of them, including Comerica Park in Detroit, PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Coors Field in Denver are the handiwork of Populous, a Kansas City-based architecture firm, and the most prolific designer of ballparks – major league and minor – in America today.

At the same time, interest in baseball and its building designs has been given new life across many fields, including graphic design, in such books as Flip Flop Flyball by Craig Robinson (Bloomsburgy, 2011) a book of infographics that includes a page of just the unique shapes of each major league playing field (they look like melted cookie cutters); and historical book series such as the McFarland Historic Ballparks collection, whose latest instalment encompasses the 81-year story of Old Comiskey Park in Chicago, the long-time home of Barack Obama’s beloved White Sox. In these stories and so many others told formally and less so, public parks, even while attached to big business money machines like pro baseball clubs, become physical repositories of human narrative, both on the field and off – what architect Pat Tangen, a principal at Populous who’s worked on baseball parks for 23 years, might call the “baseball experience.” Read more…

Slovak Architect Turns Billboards Into Homes For The Homeless


by GMA News Staff
GMA News Online, July 14, 2014 

BRATISLAVA – As some European cities install spikes on pavements to prevent homeless people bedding down for the night, one architect in Slovakia plans to give them a proper abode—made from billboards.

The Gregory Project uses advertising hoardings, usually placed along roads in a V-shape to be visible from both directions, to create small but functional homes for the homeless by adding a third wall and a roof.

Slovak architect Michal Polacek told AFP he hopes his novel design will “help the homeless to return to normal life, find a job and eventually find a better place to stay.”

Polacek’s one-bedroom triangular homes include a kitchen and bathroom and are powered by solar panels or connected to the same network that lights the billboards at night.

He says the cost of building the homes can be covered by billboard advertising revenues.

“I was inspired by a friend who once pointed at a billboard and said ‘Hey, I could live up there!’ and also by the desire to help those less fortunate,” Polacek added.

He has yet to construct his design but says it is available as a free, open-source platform for anyone wanting to use it.

The installation of pavement spikes to stop homeless people sleeping outside a London building sparked outrage last month, with 40,000 people signing a petition calling for their removal. Read more…