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…

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