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Next-Generation Stadiums in the Works Across North America

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When Camden Yards, the then-new home of the Baltimore Orioles, hosted its first game in April 1992, it was easy to walk around the brick-covered ballpark and believe you had stumbled into the Babe Ruth era. Designed to blend in with the surrounding warehouses by Populous, a firm that specialized in stadium work, Camden Yards set off a trend for retro ballparks that continues to this day. But recent advances in video and construction technology have tilted stadium design forward, ushering in an era of adventurous, even sustainable arenas and ballparks (consider the oversized video screen of the Dallas Cowboys, or the retractable field at the University of Phoenix). Competition from the increasingly sophisticated home viewing experience, and the drive to erect bigger and better civic temples to pro sports, have kickstarted a new era in design (which, it should be noted, aren't always the best municipal investments). Here are some forthcoming examples of stadium designs in North America that often prove there's often more to look at the game than simply the game at hand.


This post has been updated to include two more game-changing stadiums

A Viking Ship in Minneapolis? No, It's Just the U.S. Bank Stadium [Curbed]
Zaha Hadid Doubles Down on Tokyo Stadium in New Video [Curbed]
See the Chargers and Raiders Pitch to the NFL to Build a Ridiculous Stadium in Carson [Curbed LA]
Is This The World's Coolest Contemporary Soccer Stadium? [Curbed]

Read More

1. U.S. Bank Stadium

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900 S 5th St
Minneapolis, MN 55415

A battleship-shaped battlefield complete with towering, swinging doors that open towards downtown, the Minnesota Vikings's forthcoming new football field certainly lives up to the ideal of gridiron toughness. That makes its sustainability features all the more impressive. Designed by HKS, the angular, 65,000-seat multi-use stadium features a steep roof covered in large part by insulating clear plastic, which will allow in copious amounts of sunlight, helping to cut costs and hopefully earn a LEED rating after it opens next August.

2. Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Northside Dr NW & M.L.K. Jr Dr SW
Atlanta, GA 30313

An abstract take on the shape of a falcon’s wing that looks more like a camera aperture, the new HOK-designed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta may be one of the first American football stadiums to measure up to the architectural daring of Europe’s modern football arenas. In addition to the otherworldly oculus that can make relatively minute adjustments to control lighting, the stadium will also offer eye candy in the form of a five-story ribbon of high-definition video screens that encircle the seating area. While the structures will boast the standard VIP clubs and boxes, the Falcon’s owner wanted to create a playing field that leveled the playing field when it comes to fan experiences, with an unorthodox façade and a barrage of video options. A planned 100-yard-long food-and-beverage bar on an upper concourse should also provide a more unifying experience (perhaps waiting in line simultaneously).

3. Rogers Place

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10340 102 St NW, Edmonton
AB T5J, Canada

Designed by 360 Architecture out of Kansas City (now owned by HOK), the curvaceous arena, a massive quote bubble covering the site of a former rail yard, is aiming to be the first LEED Silver-certified ice hockey stadium in Canada when it opens next fall. The anchor of a billion-dollar, mixed-use downtown development, the building will also boast some high-tech features courtesy of the naming sponsor, a Canadian telecom giant. The flexible, roughly 20,000-seat arena will feature the largest high-definition arena scoreboard in the NHL above center ice and be fully wired for hi-speed WiFi.

4. MGM-AEG Arena

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4882 Frank Sinatra Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89158

While it’s still not technically the home of any pro franchise—the owners have been angling for a shot at an NHL expansion team—a new stadium on the Strip seems bound to have plenty of events clamoring for space. Set to open next year after years of debate and delays, the 20,000-person arena, another Populous project, offers a relatively low-to-the-ground oval bowl, giving spectators in the upper levels better views of the action on the ice (or likely, in the ring).

5. Estadio Diablos

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Sport Plaza, San Simón, 03660 Mexico City
Federal District, Mexico

You could argue Mexico City isn’t in need of any new iconic stadiums, since Estadio Azteca is already hallowed ground for the world’s football fans. But you’d also have to argue against this new ballpark covered by a massive plastic-and-steel trident, so perhaps there's room for two stadiums. The work of Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, a Mexico City-born architect and current director of JAHN, and ADG, this new baseball stadium for the Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico, scheduled to open in 2017, incorporates Mexican cultural references throughout, from its plaza-like entrance to structural supports clad in native volcanic rock. Think of it as a zocalo for the baseball set.

6. SunTrust Park

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2675 Cobb Pkwy SE
Smyrna, GA 30080

As befitting its sponsor, a regional bank, Atlanta’s new baseball stadium offers a traditional approach to design. But that doesn’t mean strictly conservative or retro. The 41,500-seat stadium will fulfill the oft-repeated promise of getting fans closer to the action with a cantilevered seating system that literally pushes the upper levels closer to the field. Set to open in the spring of 2017, the ballpark will be the centerpiece of a larger development, a mixed-use area with a focus on entertainment complexes.

7. Milwaukee Bucks Arena

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1133 N 5th St
Milwaukee, WI 53203

A subtle swoosh of metal capping a series of glass walls—no, not that swoosh—the proposed new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks is meant to anchor a “live block” complex, its open façade broadcasting the message that the event and entertainment doesn’t end within the stadium walls. Designed by a multinational cadre of architectural firms lead by Populous and set to open in 2017, the new arena comes with promises to reactivate downtown.

8. Orlando City Stadium

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S Parramore Ave & W Church St
Orlando, FL 32805

Reminiscent of contemporary European football stadiums, especially some of the recent work of Herzog & de Meuron, Orlando’s forthcoming soccer-specific venue will plant a purple-hued jewel box in the center of town. The tight form and canopies are meant to magnify the noise of the venue’s 25,500-capacity crowd and focus it back on the field. A huge sea lion statue, a reference to mascot Kingston the Lion, will stand at the entrance, looking out from the field, but will rotate back towards to pitch during game time. The field is currently expected to open sometime next year.

9. Warriors San Francisco Sports and Entertainment Center

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3rd St & South St
San Francisco, CA 94158

A controversial project, to say the least, this long-in-the-works new home for the Golden State Warriors would be built and opened by 2018 without public subsidy, virtually unheard of in pro stadium construction. That fact seems to be one of the few things that hasn't caused disagreement, from the location in Mission Bay to the design, now a nautically inspired curve by MANICA Architecture (who picked up the project after numerous drafts by Snøhetta).

10. Detroit Events Center

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44 Sibley St
Detroit, MI 48201

Set to open in 2017, the Detroit Events Center by HOK aims to be one of the more integrated stadiums ever built, as far as joining the arena and its concourse with the surrounding neighborhood. A glass roof covering the 20,000-seat stadium will also serve as a canopy between adjacent buildings, covering an “indoor street” of retail and restaurants that will remain open independent of the event calendar (the structure has ben described as "deconstructed"). The sunken seating bowl, which reduces the overall height of the arena, will add to the intended, village-like atmosphere, a bid to enliven the surrounding area and create an animated main street on game day.

11. Golden 1 Center

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600 L St
Sacramento, CA 95814

Designed by AECOM and set to open next fall, this new stadium, boasting a set of aircraft hangar-like doors, aims to meet or exceed other arenas when it comes to technology and sustainability. Built with locally sourced materials, the 19,000-seat structure will be carbon neutral and powered in large part by solar power.

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1. U.S. Bank Stadium

900 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

A battleship-shaped battlefield complete with towering, swinging doors that open towards downtown, the Minnesota Vikings's forthcoming new football field certainly lives up to the ideal of gridiron toughness. That makes its sustainability features all the more impressive. Designed by HKS, the angular, 65,000-seat multi-use stadium features a steep roof covered in large part by insulating clear plastic, which will allow in copious amounts of sunlight, helping to cut costs and hopefully earn a LEED rating after it opens next August.

900 S 5th St
Minneapolis, MN 55415

2. Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Northside Dr NW & M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30313

An abstract take on the shape of a falcon’s wing that looks more like a camera aperture, the new HOK-designed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta may be one of the first American football stadiums to measure up to the architectural daring of Europe’s modern football arenas. In addition to the otherworldly oculus that can make relatively minute adjustments to control lighting, the stadium will also offer eye candy in the form of a five-story ribbon of high-definition video screens that encircle the seating area. While the structures will boast the standard VIP clubs and boxes, the Falcon’s owner wanted to create a playing field that leveled the playing field when it comes to fan experiences, with an unorthodox façade and a barrage of video options. A planned 100-yard-long food-and-beverage bar on an upper concourse should also provide a more unifying experience (perhaps waiting in line simultaneously).

Northside Dr NW & M.L.K. Jr Dr SW
Atlanta, GA 30313

3. Rogers Place

10340 102 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J, Canada

Designed by 360 Architecture out of Kansas City (now owned by HOK), the curvaceous arena, a massive quote bubble covering the site of a former rail yard, is aiming to be the first LEED Silver-certified ice hockey stadium in Canada when it opens next fall. The anchor of a billion-dollar, mixed-use downtown development, the building will also boast some high-tech features courtesy of the naming sponsor, a Canadian telecom giant. The flexible, roughly 20,000-seat arena will feature the largest high-definition arena scoreboard in the NHL above center ice and be fully wired for hi-speed WiFi.

10340 102 St NW, Edmonton
AB T5J, Canada

4. MGM-AEG Arena

4882 Frank Sinatra Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89158

While it’s still not technically the home of any pro franchise—the owners have been angling for a shot at an NHL expansion team—a new stadium on the Strip seems bound to have plenty of events clamoring for space. Set to open next year after years of debate and delays, the 20,000-person arena, another Populous project, offers a relatively low-to-the-ground oval bowl, giving spectators in the upper levels better views of the action on the ice (or likely, in the ring).

4882 Frank Sinatra Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89158

5. Estadio Diablos

Sport Plaza, San Simón, 03660 Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico

You could argue Mexico City isn’t in need of any new iconic stadiums, since Estadio Azteca is already hallowed ground for the world’s football fans. But you’d also have to argue against this new ballpark covered by a massive plastic-and-steel trident, so perhaps there's room for two stadiums. The work of Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, a Mexico City-born architect and current director of JAHN, and ADG, this new baseball stadium for the Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico, scheduled to open in 2017, incorporates Mexican cultural references throughout, from its plaza-like entrance to structural supports clad in native volcanic rock. Think of it as a zocalo for the baseball set.

Sport Plaza, San Simón, 03660 Mexico City
Federal District, Mexico

6. SunTrust Park

2675 Cobb Pkwy SE, Smyrna, GA 30080

As befitting its sponsor, a regional bank, Atlanta’s new baseball stadium offers a traditional approach to design. But that doesn’t mean strictly conservative or retro. The 41,500-seat stadium will fulfill the oft-repeated promise of getting fans closer to the action with a cantilevered seating system that literally pushes the upper levels closer to the field. Set to open in the spring of 2017, the ballpark will be the centerpiece of a larger development, a mixed-use area with a focus on entertainment complexes.

2675 Cobb Pkwy SE
Smyrna, GA 30080

7. Milwaukee Bucks Arena

1133 N 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

A subtle swoosh of metal capping a series of glass walls—no, not that swoosh—the proposed new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks is meant to anchor a “live block” complex, its open façade broadcasting the message that the event and entertainment doesn’t end within the stadium walls. Designed by a multinational cadre of architectural firms lead by Populous and set to open in 2017, the new arena comes with promises to reactivate downtown.

1133 N 5th St
Milwaukee, WI 53203

8. Orlando City Stadium

S Parramore Ave & W Church St, Orlando, FL 32805

Reminiscent of contemporary European football stadiums, especially some of the recent work of Herzog & de Meuron, Orlando’s forthcoming soccer-specific venue will plant a purple-hued jewel box in the center of town. The tight form and canopies are meant to magnify the noise of the venue’s 25,500-capacity crowd and focus it back on the field. A huge sea lion statue, a reference to mascot Kingston the Lion, will stand at the entrance, looking out from the field, but will rotate back towards to pitch during game time. The field is currently expected to open sometime next year.

S Parramore Ave & W Church St
Orlando, FL 32805

9. Warriors San Francisco Sports and Entertainment Center

3rd St & South St, San Francisco, CA 94158

A controversial project, to say the least, this long-in-the-works new home for the Golden State Warriors would be built and opened by 2018 without public subsidy, virtually unheard of in pro stadium construction. That fact seems to be one of the few things that hasn't caused disagreement, from the location in Mission Bay to the design, now a nautically inspired curve by MANICA Architecture (who picked up the project after numerous drafts by Snøhetta).

3rd St & South St
San Francisco, CA 94158

10. Detroit Events Center

44 Sibley St, Detroit, MI 48201

Set to open in 2017, the Detroit Events Center by HOK aims to be one of the more integrated stadiums ever built, as far as joining the arena and its concourse with the surrounding neighborhood. A glass roof covering the 20,000-seat stadium will also serve as a canopy between adjacent buildings, covering an “indoor street” of retail and restaurants that will remain open independent of the event calendar (the structure has ben described as "deconstructed"). The sunken seating bowl, which reduces the overall height of the arena, will add to the intended, village-like atmosphere, a bid to enliven the surrounding area and create an animated main street on game day.

44 Sibley St
Detroit, MI 48201

11. Golden 1 Center

600 L St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Designed by AECOM and set to open next fall, this new stadium, boasting a set of aircraft hangar-like doors, aims to meet or exceed other arenas when it comes to technology and sustainability. Built with locally sourced materials, the 19,000-seat structure will be carbon neutral and powered in large part by solar power.

600 L St
Sacramento, CA 95814