It’s been a while since we’ve posted progress pictures of one of our favorite local projects located at 1621 Locust in the East Crossroads District. Although the building has been occupied since October of 2012 we’re still working with Egg Design and the Wade Brothers to make things perfect prior to our big reveal in the form of professional photography. If you haven’t attended an event at the Guild yet you should definitely do so. The decor is classic 1920’s with a splash of mod here and there. The vibe is always right with an emphasis on live music, great craft drinks at the bar, and upscale culinary bites by local emerging chefs.
Things are coming together at Time Warner Cable Field. Most of the major design elements are in place and we’re now focused on the small details. Signage and way-finding installation is well under way. Opening day on April 8th is going to be a night to remember.
BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
After months, if not years, of anticipation, Bakersfield got the good news Thursday: a new ballpark is firmly in the works. Owners of the Bakersfield Blaze unveiled plans for a privately financed, 3,500-seat stadium that would become the first-phase centerpiece of the Bakersfield Commons mixed-use development project at Coffee and Brimhall roads. Construction is expected to begin early next year and the ballpark could open in 2014, although not necessarily by the start of the baseball season. The $20 million stadium essentially would replace the county’s aging Sam Lynn Ballpark with a family-oriented facility to be accompanied eventually by new restaurants, retail and entertainment such as a new movie theater. “The idea of this is to be more than just a baseball field,” said Gene Voiland, a prominent local oil executive who together with Bakersfield oilman Chad Hathaway purchased the Blaze last spring. “We are putting together an entertainment complex.” If approved as proposed, the 15-acre project would crown decades of sometimes frustrating negotiations aimed at giving Bakersfield a new baseball stadium. It would also comprise the “anchor tenant” considered key to attracting retail tenants to the 255-acre Bakersfield Commons project. While the stadium would present new opportunities — it is expected to become a venue for concerts and, potentially, Cal State Bakersfield baseball — it also carries financial risks for the team’s new owners. By their own estimate, the new stadium will have to draw an average of 2,500 spectators per game, or about five times the typical Blaze home game at Sam Lynn. The expectation is that the project will bring The Blaze into the black financially, the team owners said Thursday.
The team hopes to sell advertising at the stadium and offer naming rights. There would also be up to eight executive suites, as well as lower priced seating on grassy berms, together increasing capacity by 1,500 people. The Blaze will move its offices and training facilities to the site, and roughly double its full-time staff to as many as 20 employees. Many will be assigned to develop non-baseball revenue opportunities, Blaze General Manager Elizabeth Martin indicated. Voiland and Hathaway disclosed their plans to The Californian Thursday morning, shortly before filing for a conditional use permit with the city of Bakersfield. They predicted that the stadium’s light, noise and traffic impacts will not bother area residents or present additional hurdles to city approval of the larger Bakersfield Commons project. Upon receiving the team’s permit request Thursday afternoon, city staff scheduled a Dec. 11 hearing before the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments to consider what amounts to an adjustment of the project’s existing approval. Rhonda Smiley, assistant to Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy, who was away from the office Thursday, said city staff are “enthused” about working with The Blaze on the stadium. “Obviously the city … has been … long interested in bringing baseball — professional baseball — to a higher level in Bakersfield, in terms of an improved stadium,” Smiley said.
Some of the stadium’s groundwork is already in place. The Blaze has signed a 20-year, renewable lease with World Oil Corp., the property’s owner and developer of the Bakersfield Commons project. The team has also hired two separate architectural firms – Pendulum Studio, a Kansas City, Mo. –based firm with experience designing sports stadiums; and Fresno’s Teter Architects & Engineers. The builder is to be Bakersfield-based Wallace & Smith General Contractors. The project’s real estate adviser is Grubb & Ellis – ASU & Associates in Bakersfield. How the project will be paid for is less clear. The team’s owners declined to discuss details of the necessary financing, saying only that no public money will be involved and that they are looking for local investors to help them move forward with the stadium. World Oil representatives said they see the project as key to kick-starting Bakersfield Commons, which wouldn’t begin building about 300,000 square feet of adjacent retail and restaurant space until about the time the stadium opens. Residential and office development would follow later. “The Blaze stadium is the perfect catalyst to get this started,” World Oil principal Robert Roth said in a written statement. Access to the stadium would come largely from the Coffee Road exit of the Westside Parkway, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012. Baseball fans will find some 830 parking spaces spread over eight acres. Ticket prices have not yet been established but are expected to vary between $9 and $11 depending on where in the stadium the seat is located. Voiland said tickets won’t cost as much as $20. “It’s still going to be family-priced entertainment,” he said.
Click the link below to listen to a recent audio interview with co-founding principal of Pendulum Studio, Jonathan Cole and @DaysWorkPodcast. The topics for discussion included the pursuit of architecture as a profession, relationships and market approach within sports architecture, marketing politics, project financing and favorite ballpark projects…dreams.
We recently completed 90% construction documents on a new Crossroads Art Wall that will encase an existing KCP&L Substation located at 18th and Holmes. A Full scale 12′ x 12′ plywood mock-up with concealed color changing Lightwild LED fixtures was constructed as an intermediate “check and balance” prior to breaking ground. The mock-up revealed last-minute adjustments that would be required to maximize the execution of lighting, media programming, and long-term security.
Once the Owner approved the preliminary mock-up pictured above, Zahner immediately starting constructing a final full-scale version in weathering steel (Solanum Steel). The official groundbreaking will be held on site shortly, construction is scheduled to be complete by early summer 2012.
We almost forgot to mention…it’s powered by solar.
If you’ve never designed a building that’s actually been built, the closest thing I can liken this process to is the birth and rearing of a child. While in most cases you had a great deal of fun making the baby – there’s always that anxious anticipation that exists while you wait nine months for it to finally reveal itself to the world. Prior to the birth of my first son I remember constantly wondering: what’s he going to look like? What are people going to say about him? Is he going to be healthy…with all his fingers and toes? Am I even worthy of the privilege of being a parent? The reality of the matter is there’s quite a few variables that contribute to how things will ultimately turn out – some in our favor and others that challenge us as individuals. Either way as parents we learn to shoulder that responsibility and forget about excuses. As a father of three (two boys and one girl), I can truthfully say that each of my children are unique with their own little quirks and temperaments; what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other, and they certainly test my patience from time to time…well, actually on a daily basis. Be that as it may, in my eyes they are adorable – I’d do absolutely anything for them and although the existence of those “little personality quirks” are trying and sometimes less than appealing in public, they are my kids and I love them to death.
The same is true with buildings that we as architects design. We invest countless hours during pre-development in pursuit of being selected for the project. We then spend months conceptualizing, studying the site, responding to existing context, interpreting code requirements, attending public meetings, and pitching design ideas to owners, all while attempting to balance the ever-changing variable we loving refer to as the budget. We fight in behalf of sacred cows (key design elements) that often get slaughtered, we passionately debate scope, and we ride the tide of political will…something we as architects were never prepped for during the college years. Finally at the end of six to eight months of design/documentation and ten to fourteen months of construction it’s time for opening day at the ballpark. There’s no tell-all journal published that outlines the arguments over additional services, change orders, screw-ups in the field, or squandered design opportunities; on occasion we actually show up to opening day with a few scars…but that’s our job as the architect, we shoulder the responsibility and forget about excuses. While there’s always things we wish we could go back and change, there’s always that one thing that we adore about our design – until someone decides to knock the building down, no one can take that away from us.
The Return Home
In 2008, when Pendulum Studio was commissioned to design a $9,000,000 multi-use ballpark on the Heartland Community College Campus, we knew going in that the budget was tight, so our strategy was simple…keep it simple. Now that the facility is complete and in the midst of its second full season of operation we were invited back to lead a tour for 50 fans interested in the inner workings of the facility. To be honest, this process was as informative to us as it was intended to be for the fans – this kind of exercise is a great way of gauging if we were successful in executing what we set out to accomplish; aside from operational feedback from the team, who better to hear it from than dedicated fans?
One of my favorite things about this ballpark is the surprise that’s unveiled when you walk through the gates in the outfield and up the stairs, or from the sidewalk through the main gates behind home plate and catch your first glimpse of the playing field. It’s a great feeling when you realize that even though from the street the exterior facade is not extravagantly ornate, the openness of the outfield concourse and the deliberate break in the press box building mass behind the bag forms a view corridor that immediately sends a signal to your brain that says “this is going to be a great place to watch a game.”
The main entry concessions behind home plate are flanked by keg storage rooms and adjacent open patio areas that were originally intended to serve as beer gardens with tapped counters and bar stools. Although the beer gardens were not executed in the initial build, beer lines and power has been stubbed up in the appropriate locations for future use. In the interim both areas have been landscaped to offer a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the busy main concourse.
As you work your way down the first base concourse toward the outfield entry there’s no shortage of grass berm seating – room for approximately 1,500 down each line – 3,000 total. We engineered the slope at grade identical to the seating bowl to allow for future expansion of additional seating sections, group decks, and party areas as demand rises and funding becomes available.
The outfield wall was intentionally designed to be low and deep to create great lines of sight even at the lowest points near the base of the wall. There’s a future opportunity for the installation of drink rail and sponsor advertising at the top of the berm along the concrete walk – the picture below illustrates this vantage point from the top of the berm; the only thing that would make this experience better is an ice-cold beer in your hand.
The scoreboard below is positioned just in front of the locker room facilities in right-center. When the home team takes the field, they walk directly out of the locker room under the scoreboard, then down through the corn to the playing field surface.
The Future…Room For Smart Growth
Phase one of this project involved a great deal of pushing and pulling. We stretched our dollar pretty far and created a nice starting point for where we’d like to see things ultimately go a season or two down the road. The future addition of concourse roof covering, drink rails in the outfield, group decks, outfield entry roof to match home plate, the installation of our original 20′ x 40′ drive-in movie screen and finally a pedestrian bridge to connect both ends of the concourse will help the facility to fill out a bit and grow to full maturity. It’s going to take time to get there, and the $1M that’s required to make it happen is not going to be easy to obtain but as my father always says, “timing is everything”. With an announced 3,100 in the crowd and an actual attendance of approximately 2,500 on a friday night (7/8/2011) and with the expectation of 5,000 on Saturday for the game followed by their first concert, I’m confident they will make it happen sooner than later.
As I mentioned at the outset of this post, designing and constructing a building – in this case a ballpark, really is like birthing and rearing a child. There’s a lot of give and take, a little sacrifice here and there but as designers, architects, “parents”, we shoulder that responsibility. At the end of our day at the ballpark, there were two things that happened that were pretty fulfilling: 1) post tour – the fans told us how much they sincerely enjoy attending ball games at this facility, 2) for the first time I got to sit in the stands with my business partner and our families and just relax and enjoy. We are proud of our work.
Although we previously posted information about the start of phase one of the East Village project, we did not outline the complete vision for the overall development. With the multi-family housing and adjacent parking garage making rapid progress toward completion in October of this year, we eagerly anticipate the proposed additional phases outlined in our master plan.
The first thing my oldest son asks me when I get home is: “what did you do at work today – did you have fun?” With exception to the days that I spend in meetings or on the road my typical answer is: “I sketched most of the day…yep it was a good day”.
Just over a year ago we were cranking away on the Green Bay Bullfrogs’ new stadium and something inspired me to start taking video of our design process for just about everything I do. Needless to say, I’ve got hours of video – this one being the first of a series that features me on the boards with my favorite triangle and circle template.
Based on the wardrobe changes in the video this was a three-day sketch. Although I pushed the speed to 8x in editing, we spent quite a bit of time thinking about how best to tie into existing site context (Fox River & downtown to the east, arts district to the west), blur the site boundary lines (outfield boardwalk & playground), and maximize revenue generating potential (everything inside the secure line).
Our message at the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings was pretty direct – “The ballpark of the future will be smaller, multi-purpose, economically and environmentally sustainable.” The proposed new ballpark for the Green Bay Bullfrogs is all of the above.
When Pendulum Studio was selected by the Bullfrogs to design the new ballpark, the first order of business was choosing a great site. Although there were a number of sites in consideration, when we arrived at this tiny six acre brownfield parcel in downtown Green Bay, we knew our search was over. The site is bordered by the Fox River to the East, a 200-foot wide river inlet to the North, and Mason Street bridge to the south.
The ballpark design focuses on “right-sizing” the facility to maximize natural site amenities including views to the Fox River and the downtown skyline from inside the ballpark. The incorporation of a generous double-sided grass berm, kid’s fun zone, plaza level wood deck, and a second story banquet pavilion encourages community use during game day and non game day events at the river’s edge. The left field river inlet will feature boat slips in a second phase to accommodate game day boat traffic and a “boat-up” drive-in movie screen attached to the back of the scoreboard.
Small Ballpark With Big Features
As fans pass through one of three secure entry points pictured above, they will have the option of enjoying ballpark features that include the bullpen bar down the left field line, loge boxes behind the left field dugout, dugout club seating behind home plate, and the Bullfrog upper deck down the right field line. Rather than focusing on maximizing the number of fixed seats like most traditional stadiums, our design focus is on maximizing diversity in seating inventory which increases team revenue potential. Although we have incorporated a number of traditional ballpark features in our design, our site specific and contextual approach to this ballpark makes it far from cookie cutter, it will be one of a kind.