Oakland A's have BIG plans for ballpark
- Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics have hired architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to head up the design team for its new stadium and ancillary development, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Also working on the project will be Gensler, which counts such projects as the Bank of California soccer stadium and the Golden State Warriors' Chase Center among the sports venues in its portfolio.
- BIG will oversee work on two potential designs, one at the waterfront's Howard Terminal and a rebuild on the property of the team's existing arena, the Oakland Coliseum. Regardless of which site the A's end up with, Dave Kaval, the team's president, said the organization wants a design team that could "look at the ballpark with a fresh perspective," and called the selection of BIG a "game changer."
- The A's still have to navigate financial issues with the Coliseum property if they want to build there. In a meeting with the Oakland business community, Mayor Libby Schaaf reportedly said the city doesn’t have the money to buy out Alameda County's interest in the site, a necessary move that would help make a new A's stadium there possible. Schaaf told the Chronicle that the situation is "a little more complicated" and that the city wants to seal the deal for the team. The A's have offered to buy the property for $137 million.
The BIG team, led by Danish "starchitect" Bjarke Ingels, has a history of innovative, cutting-edge design. When the National Football League's Washington Redskins owner hired BIG to design a new stadium for a potential future move a few years ago, the end result was a semi-transparent main arena and a moat that surrounded the entire venue so that locals could kayak, ice skate and engage in other recreational water activities depending on the weather. Ingels said he wanted to create a place where people could enjoy the stadium grounds at times other than just game day.
BIG has also incorporated sports themes into unlikely structures. Its design for a $660 million waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen features the city's longest ski slope and a near-280-foot climbing wall on the exterior, according to the Financial Times. On the roof of the plant, there is also a bar and restaurant for visitors who want to get a good view of the water incinerator.
Among its other projects underway, BIG is also responsible for one of New York City's biggest projects to break ground this summer, Tishman Speyer's supertall dubbed The Spiral.
- San Francisco Chronicle Oakland A’s hire design-forward architect to oversee new ballpark
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