Trends in Stadium Design
In the Commercial Interior Design Space, there is a small, emerging market that, actually, is not so small or emerging at all. Sports and entertainment venues have been around since the dawn of time but recent economic opportunities and advancing technologies have sparked revitalization in this market that are giving fans and players an entirely new experience.
The first thing we have noticed is an overall shift in how stadiums are designed. Owners and designers have learned that fans want more than a building, they want a relationship. They want to feel connected to the facility that lives in their city and plays host to their lifelong memories.
To build this bond, stadium designers are increasingly sensitive to the local community and what makes it unique. More and more they use what happens outside a stadium – local history and current culture – to inspire what happens inside it – food, décor, amenities etc.
Little Caesars’ Arena is an excellent example of this. Designers used Detroit’s rich musical history and resilient manufacturing background as inspiration for the building’s interior. Inside is home to restaurants honoring hometown music heroes, lighting is dim and reminiscent of the jazz era, its industrial bones were left uncovered and – at one entrance – an intimidating-looking muscle car is mounted vertically as if it drove straight off the concourse and swerved daringly into a brick wall.
Another significant change is in viewing options. Venues are beginning to offer a variety of seating and dining options, at a variety of price points, so fans can choose experiences that feel one-of-a-kind and unique to their preferences.
Traditional, ‘row and stack’-style seating is being replaced with casual, communal, cluster spaces, where fans can see and interact with their favorite team members. In Little Caesars Comerica Players Club, fans come face-to-face with players as they go to and from the ice. In the Bunker Club at Mizzou’s Memorial Stadium, fans can high five athletes as they hit the ground.
Tall tables combined with lounge seating and a variety of colors and themes create common areas that, not only hold more people, but encourage fans to move and be social. At of TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, for example, entire blocks of traditional seating were removed in lieu of premium, balcony cabanas with swimming pools that overlook the field.
Another shift is triggered by recruitment. Coaches and staff must have state-of-the-art facilities in order to be competitive. For Mizzou, this means building advanced weight rooms, spaces for hydro and cryotherapy, nutrition centers and tailor-made locker rooms. K-State married cutting-edge design, with convenience amenities like a barbershop and study theaters. In the increasingly difficult war for talent, leadership must demonstrate their commitment to athlete success, both on and off the field.
When people leave an arena, they most likely do not remember which seat was theirs, or on what level; they might not even remember if their team won or lost. When people leave an area, they leave with a memory of how they felt, what they did and the people they were with. Sports have always been about bringing people together and we are glad to see the tradition continue in stadiums of the future.
Color Art Sports is a project management company based out of St. Louis, Missouri (Go, Blues!) that has been quietly working on some of the largest stadium projects in the country: Little Caesars Arena, National’s Ballpark, Amway Center, and Busch Stadium are just a few on their resume. Gary Arthur is Color Art Sports’ Senior Project Manager with a career’s worth experience in commercial design and more than 15-years’ in stadium developments. Above are his insights as shared with a staff writer, Ashley Flynn of Color Art. For more information about Color Art Sports click here.