According to an "official familiar with the decision," the Washington Redskins have hired the Danish architecture team Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design the team's new stadium, reaffirming the Redskins' plans to move from their existing home at FedEx Field in Landover, MD, The Washington Post reported.
BIG, "one of the industry’s buzziest architecture firms" and the architect behind Google’s greenhouse-style headquarters in California, said it is working on a stadium project but would not identify the client, according to The Post. Industry analysts familiar with BIG have said the firm grabs attention for its innovative design but is not known for sports facilities.
The team’s owners have been trying to drum up local and state officials’ support for a new stadium site, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has given the Redskins some land options along an un-built section of the Metro’s Silver Line. Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has also made some preliminary inquiries about building a new stadium on the site of the team’s previous home, RFK Stadium. But the Redskins have come up against some opposition from elected officials, as the team refuses to change the name, which some consider a slur against Native Americans.
The team’s name has been a source of controversy for years. In fact, The Post reported that when Bowser approached Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about using RFK land, which is under federal jurisdiction, Jewell denied her. In the past, Jewell has said using the name Redskins is like calling the team Brownskins or Whiteskins, according to The Post.
Bowser said the team would have to change its name in order to come back to the District, but that’s not the only obstacle, The Post reported. RFK neighbors have also expressed opposition to a new NFL stadium in the area.
"I know they want to be at RFK," Bowser told The Post. "It’s the only place that makes sense."
Stadium construction has captured the attention of both the building industry and the public. The Minnesota Vikings future home, U.S. Bank stadium, has webcams set up so that the public can keep up to date with construction progress, and those pages have more than 11 million views.
The glass design of the Vikings' stadium has also ruffled the feathers of bird safety activists who say the 200,000 square feet of glass walls and roof will attract migratory birds from the nearby Mississippi River flyway and cause them to smash into the glass.
St. Louis has also seen its share of stadium controversy, as uncertainty remains over whether the extensively planned new stadium in the city will actually be built. Team owner Stan Kroenke has made it clear he wants to move the team to Los Angeles. According to CBS Sports, Kroenke plans to build the California stadium even if the NFL rejects his request for relocation, counting on an in-progress NFL venue to increase his chances for NFL authorization to move in 2017.