In the 1992, the Baltimore Orioles opened their baseball season at a brand new stadium called Oriole Park at Camden Yards, right along the downtown harbor. The stadium was small and intimate, built with brick and iron trusses—a throwback to … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars, in the spring of nineteen. Ninety two, the Baltimore Orioles open their baseball season at a brand new stadium, called oral part at Camden yards. It sat right along the harbour in downtown bottom day. You can the yards farther down the stadium with small engagement. It was built with brick in iron, trusses, a throwback to the classic ballpark from the early twentieth century. That was on the minds of oriole bans. In the first place. These items Around
in Europe was really popular right from the start. Here's a tv reporter interviewing a bunch of Orioles fans on opening day out standing at standing day, for they spoke out building park and standing here by giving unbelievable. He appeared. Baseball writers from around the country, heaped praise on the Orioles New Park. That's pretty Emmett Fitzgerald temper, wrote in sports illustrated its magnificent than under stated baseball only real grass, open air Corky, cosy, comfortable cool sort of away all the nest No attention took the team by surprise. We were just out to build a ball park that worked for Baltimore this loud blue collar city, home, a crab, cakes, nanny bone, boobs barbecue, says, JANET Murray Smith, The designers of Camden Yards INA. We weren't looking to create something that which
change the paradigm of baseball parks That's exactly what happened! excessive Camden Yard set off a building boom in baseball as city after city built new stadiums based on the architectural principles laid down in Baltimore. That design revolution change the experience of going to the ball park in the relationship between baseball in cities, but two, Stand. What made Camden yards feel so special that ninety ninety two, we need a little bit of history in the early, teen hundreds most baseball stadiums were relatively small and built in dense urban neighbourhoods. In the nineteen fifties and sixtys as white populations fled downtown for the suburbs baseball, followed them teams, stadiums on the edge of cities where they would be more accessible to middle class fans who drove to games in cars. They of ten were acres and acres of parking surrounding the stadium and
stadiums themselves. Word these massive concrete cylinders designed to house more than one sport from Pittsburgh to it when I tell no walkie everyone had this big round: hulking concrete stadium Generally house, both baseball and football these multi purpose stadiums or concrete doughnuts, as they were sometimes called really work four fans of either sport. It's a joke was they became multi purpose less. They were perfectly round to fit both a football field and a baseball diamond. But that meant that this its were often really far away from the action or angled in we're directions, so it that being a shape that accommodated everything but served nothing well, and the multi best stadiums word just way too big for baseball. The old urban ball parks had about twenty four I've or thirty thousand seats, but these had been
The thousand or more than eight interest didn't work. You know, except for a play off game, you simply weren't selling, that many tickets, so the stadiums often felt empty and critics also plain that they all looked exactly the same as they were not distinctive enough you didn't know if you were in three rivers stadium or you were in river friends, stadium or you're in veteran stadium. You really, I didn't know what city you were in her or could be it. This is Larry. Looking up, he was the press. Of the Orioles in the late eighties and early nineties endure that time, the Orioles played in their own concrete donut Memorial stadium, which had once how's Baltimores Football team, the courts, but in nineteen eighty four, the colts abandoned the city for Indianapolis. A long agonizing, frustrating two and a half months of waiting and wondering if the Baltimore colts would be leaving town for Good it has happened. The shock is setting in emotions are running and the courts
cited the inadequacy of aging Memorial stadium as a reason for leaving so there they concern that unless something create of what was done in Baltimore, but the Orioles that we might It follow the example of the courts and leave town fora greener, ballpark If you were the teams owner, Edward Bennet, William, wanted to build a nice new, multi Purpose stadium, so at the city, You could try and court another football team back to Baltimore, but Mary Lou Keno had a different idea. He went to Edward Williams, said: Durham, let's look at the most successful baseball, free China is out there. The egg he's in Yankee Stadium, the Cubs same Wrigley Field, a red Sox in in Fenway Park, what did they have in common? They are played in a baseball. Only facility of facilitator was designed for baseball and dirt did not
compromise architecturally for other sports, those stadiums. Actually, had another thing in common: they were really old. Some of the last hold out from the pre war era of Urban Ball Park, baseball and, unlike the cup, create doughnuts. The ball parks built back then had all these architectural quirks. Fenway, green monster or Wrigley feels iconic brick. Walls covered in ivy, they were all a little bit of a different flavour of ice cream. Oh, we thought that something was lost when baseball moved from the Those kinds of facilities to were generic MA he purpose stadiums and Sixtys and Seventys leukemia wanted to break out of the multi purpose paradigm and build a new kind of baseball, only stadium, one that felt old. Fashion, traditional baseball park, modern amenities. If we use that phrase, once we used to ten thousand, in times. In fact, Luke
became so zealous in his commitment to building a old fashioned ballpark that he be and Orioles employees from even using the word stadium. Indeed, find people five dodge. If they use the S words stadium, set of referring to our project as a ballpark estate, connotes something very different in terms of size and minor mentality, de jure collect on those lines. Yes, we do like the little party, and I remember how much we got the wooden insubstantial the oil struck, a deal with the Maryland S Word authority to build a new baseball only ballpark in Baltimore, using mostly public money. The city say: government saw it as part of an effort to revitalize downtown. The state authority, hired the architecture, firm, H, okay and the Orioles brought in their own design. Director JANET Marie Psmith, my assigned It was really to take those words that
used over and over again of an old fashioned ball park with modern amenities and try and make sense that we were really being true that it was. An easy task, and no one else had moved into a centre city and said we want to be a part of that tapestry golly, maybe seventy years. How are we going to create something that feels like its woven into the city of Baltimore? Unlike its always belonged here, JANET Marie Smooth turned to the ball parks from the early nineteen hundreds for inspiration. What made those older ballpark special is it they work a wedge into a very tight urban environment, and by wedged she mean that the urban environment actually dictated the shape of the field, each ballpark had different dimensions depend. Being on the plot of land on which it was built, which can only really happen in baseball with most ports. The dimensions of the playing field are totally standardize, but not baseball arose
at the end, feel they gotta be in. Are you gonna have ninety feet between the bases sixty six inches from home plate to the preachers now there is no rule about the outfield, and so a lot of the early american ball parks were totally asymmetrical. Abbots field built in Brooklyn Neighbourhood, called PIG town had a wildly irregular shape. The left field, foul Paul, was over fifty feet further from home plate and the rightful fowl that variety means at some ball. Parks are better for pitchers. Others are better for hitters. Some balkan let's give up more home, runs to right handed matters, others lefties, so that the park itself really does shape the outcome of the game. Larry who Keno wanted and irregular playing field like those old time ball parks, but he felt that the shape needed, ballpark was integrated into its neighbourhood. Just ballpark was integrated into its neighbourhood. It didn't feel like
flying saucer that descended and just landed in the neighborhood The inner harbour site were Camden, yards would be built, had one distinct architectural feet The being warehouse dreamily long brick building built at the turn of the twentieth century. It was a band at the time and a lot of people thought that the Orioles should just tear it down to give themselves more room to build on and to open up a view to the water one sport editor wrote did. It was an empty rat, infested fire trap. Be done away with JANET Marie Smith didn't want to do that. We felt strongly that down the very context that might give form to an asymmetrical playing field and asymmetrical seeding ball was running against the ground. What Larry wanted, so they left the warehouse but eventually sit just beyond right field and design the shape of the playing field around it. In fact,
look you know says that the decision to preserve the warehouse really dictated nearly every other design decision that went into camp in yards from the shape. The stands down to the material was that they used and construction game, it's a sort of brick motif the way you stay, India, ballpark and if I see iconic symbol of this, all park for Baltimore and it looked a lot like Baltimore and felt a lot like Baltimore. If you, but a cannon yours today, it's almost were to tell where the stadium ends in the warehouse begins, Larry Lukin and JANET Marie Psmith we're both at Camden Yards on opening day. I can tell you that we were all anxious she no hair standing on our back like what is it? What do you know? What have they done? Weren't? We know any number of things that ran counter to the norm and sports, stadium design that could have gone
in any number of things that were normal, that could have just gone wrong in the toilet, sought flashing out no pick anything, but nothing went wrong to get sold out, toilets just fine and the Orioles did their job on the field The terms in it and I found each other just for the game ended in embraced each other, and she, it plays in place. There was a big headline across the front page of the Baltimore sign the day, after opening day. That said, it's a hit if how it big two and a half inch ladders as if we'd won the election. And our something all that year, people kept coming out to the ball park in droves, when we open done in ninety. Ninety two, the attend Then, sir.
And from something like to point to it. The point three million to three points: six million in this I can year was three point: seven million in there for two seasons at Camden Yards. The Orioles had the second highest attendance in the major leagues and pretty soon other teams started to take notice owners from taxes and for a mom, Cleveland and Colorado the two to visit us rather extensively then in nineteen. Ninety four, another old fashioned baseball, only ballpark called Jacobs Field open downtown Cleveland, and that was just the beginning. It big impossible to build the new ballpark and not, have it look like an old ballpark, that's mark Lambsdorff, architect The critic of the Dallas morning, news and a fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of design and that were likely to joke that baseball owners were a bit leg. Teenagers
the first cool one does and all of a sudden. Everybody else does so one person has a retro ball park and successful. Then the conventional wisdom becomes in order successful. You have to have a retro ballpark in the twenty five years since Camden Open there have been twenty new stadiums built and there's not a cop. Creed, donut in the bunch and just Camden yards. Most of these new stadiums have been built close to city centres all, but one of them had been paid for, at least in part, with public money. Camden yards really hit upon the floor. From your right. This is neither the moss, a journalist who studies stadium economics, here's something that supposedly a win win, win right, it's a win for the team because they get new revenue, it's a win for the fans because they get out stating that they love and It's a win for the city because they get to revitalize the district
This agree agreed that if you want to revitalize neighbourhood, there are plenty of better ways than building a ballpark. Demott says that when a new stadium gets built, you'll see some sports bars pop up near by, but most businesses can't rely on baseball grounds as a customer base. You know that anyone games a year that means there's what, like you know, chew hundred and eighty days a year. When there's nothing going on there awful lot of non activity that you have to make up for also the more fundamental question of whether the public should have to pay for privately owned buildings mark I says it's tricky sports teams by this strange space there, both businesses. Public amenities sports are really import. For cities. They help create an identity. People love them. They bring cities together so that there is some justification infer a city is supporting even a privately owned, a team
balanced or says. Most cities have much more urgent spending needs. Then a new baseball stadium, like education and its hardest a what level of taxpayer contribution is fair, especially when it's going straight into the pocket very, very, very wealthy individuals, These difficult questions haven't: stop the Retro ballpark building boom across the country, baseball themes have done everything they can to follow. The Camden template down to hearing the same architecture, firm, H, okay, sport, since, but off into its own independent firm called populace, almost the law that a new ballpark is by populist and like Camden, most of the new populist stadiums. Our small baseball, only ball parks with comfortable seats and fancy food options and aesthetic. Their designed to look like the ball parks from the early nineteen hundreds, the power
of Camden Yards has become a cliche of ballpark design. That is the break the in painted iron The greens seats the typepad it is all of a piece and It became widely adopted all across the country, each of these new parks had an asymmetrical playing field and like with balls, or their dimensions were often determined by the surrounding city. Scape incendiary goes Petko Park, the historic western metal supply company building dictates the length of the left field live in of building a fallible, the team painted a yellow striped on the corner of the warehouse. Eighty Anti park in Francisco is squeezed right up against the San Francisco back there. I feel line, goes all the way to the water giving fans Attack, killer view increase, A unique local drama. Splashed on home runs when someone
It's a ball into the bay of flotilla of cars occurs, descend on the souvenir, but all the new retro ballpark were so successfully integrated with the urban landscape. Take city feel met stadium in queens it. Has an asymmetrical shape, but not because its wedged into a tight urban law it's actually set out in the same place that its predecessor, Shea Stadium, was in the middle of a parking lot and it has all these idiosyncratic dimensions, but there's really no reason for its idiot secrecy is not driven by any particular constraint of the area around it entirely artificial, when you're at city field, our clamps or says you can feel how hard the architects worked to manufacture sense of history and authenticity. He says that Everyone in the league has been so focused on building these old fashioned, idiosyncratic ball Park like Camden that they,
we created a new architectural orthodoxy, they all have exactly same DNA they're all signed by the same firm. They all kind of look the same except The whole idea is that each one is idiosyncratic in an individual at a tall tail despite It is critiques mark lamps. Your says there is no denying that the Post, Camden Ball parks are better places to watch baseball than the old, concrete behemoths. Even so, he field in New York, the stadium lamps were accused of trying a little too hard is still way nicer than its predecessor. Shea stadium. Can you just, she's stadium. I mean it. Can I just I am sure, stadium? Yes, I can describe tasted and think of a toilet, put seats in it that she's dead it? Wasn't a nice place to watch a game now, as the new place, a nice place, to watch the game. Absolutely it's a much much nicer place to watch a game, it's a really great place to watch a game and
being a nice place to watch a game is important for baseball in recent decades. Ports, television readings have started to slide but attack thence numbers are strong and these ball parks. Part of the reason why Custer Fun places to go people enjoy sitting there watching a game and for me, enjoying the game has always had a bit of nostalgia to it. I dont even follow baseball by closely but I'll go dot org and listen to the organ music because it feel like a fine tradition, more than any other sport baseball. It is at its own past and please to its nostalgic history that obsession history drove the Retro ballpark revolution. But as an architecture, critic Amsterdam is ready for some team out there to embrace the future. Why were we
looking back nostalgic early when we design these Bob hearts instead of towards new materials and new ways of building a new architecture. In a camp in Europe has taught us anything that, when someone does come up with a great new way of building a ballpark, every Ninety nine percent invisible was breezes week by immigrants Gerald we'll take production and mixed by serif uses and music machinery Ninety nine percent, invisible was breezes week by Emit Fitzgerald, would take production, exposure refusal and music version. Guinea mingle is a senior producer. Coasted is the digital director. Intermezzo is moving down south to be mighty for staff so the team is Delaney home every government. In me, women moors given heard I could the new podcast called what tromp can teach us about Carla to really fun and positive reaction to other crazy political news. I released it the beat last week, hoping you heard it liked it and hope you subscribe.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.