In 2014 the San Francisco 49er's will call the New Santa Clara Stadium their home; a much needed upgrade from their current home: Candlestick Park. Candlestick has seen some of the greatest players and games throughout the NFL's rich history, but with Sports Architecture at its peak, the franchise's front office is following the trend of raising and investing money to upgrade their "home." With one of the oldest stadiums in the League and a new era filled of young talent including one of the best coaches in the game, it is fitting that one of the best teams will have one of the best stadiums. It will be hard to leave behind Candlestick, but it is a necessary move.
Originally shared with the San Francisco Giants, Candlestick had to meet the minimum requirements to be able to host multiple sports. Due to this neither franchises had a home of their own, and this effected the structures maximize potential, including an updated fan experience. Some of you might say "Well, there are plenty of stadiums that host both sports," but I would tell you that there is a difference of hosting multiple sports and actually being a home to 2 leagues. Conflicting interests effect the overall design, whereas if you pick one sport and maximize its potential the rest will take care of itself. For example, Yankee Stadium has hosted a soccer and college football game and there were no major issues. A baseball stadium is the best set-up because it can host a variety of sports, whereas a football stadiums dimensions are fixed and make it impossible to play a baseball game in it. There is more money in baseball stadiums because of its adaptability, but the NFL's success has persuaded teams to separate from shared facilities and build a home of their own. When you combine all 32 teams they total about $35 Billion, with an increase of another $5 Billion in the next 3 years. Sorry baseball, I know you are "America's Past Time" but it is not exciting enough and now football runs this country. It is such a popular and growing sport that there are talks of opening a franchise in Europe and expanding the 32 team field. But for now lets continue to focus on San Francisco.
The Santa Clara Stadium well take on an open and sustainable design. There is that word again: "sustainable," and if your still confused what it means, it essentially can be defined as architecture doing work for you. Details can be solar panels, open floors, big windows etc, which through the architecture, natural elements can be collected and used to minimize energy costs and making it environmentally friendly. One sustainable detail in the new stadium is a 27,000 square foot plant-covered green roof that includes solar panels in which you can visit and hang out with other fans. Large structures will be used for more than one sport, so accessibility is a large issue addressed in the new location. You will be able to utilize public transportation even more for the new stadium, including 7 more exit/entry points for the freeway. Public transportation is very important for a couple reasons. One is limiting car traffic on the highways, and if you live near a large sports structure you understand the frustration that game days create. Safety is another important aspect. By limiting cars on the road you minimize accidents, and sports always includes alcohol so by offering multiple transportation methods you can drastically decrease the amount of drunk drivers on the road. Open floor plans allow for natural light to fill the stadium like the rendering above, and makes foot traffic flow a lot better as well.
As far as layout, what I like about this stadium a lot is how and where they placed the luxury suites. Traditional you have the rim of the lower tier of seats crowned with the expensive luxury suites, but in the rendering above you can see that they have been placed on one side of the stadium. They are stacked on top of each other with the facade cladded with glass. What this does is bring the upper tiers lower to the field making the views a lot better, and it allowed the architects to make the lower tier bigger. This brings the action closer to the fans compared to the other stadiums across the country.
With exclusive fan clubs, a museum, retail stores and restaurants, the New Santa Clara Stadium is innovative and provides the essentials to fully maximize the fan experience. Bringing the game closer to its fans combined with its original and sustainable design, the 49er's home will definitely be at the top of the list for best home in the NFL; that is until Farmers Field in Los Angeles opens in 2016 (hopefully). Sorry, had to acknowledge the competitive spirit between Northern and Southern California. So for all you 49er fans out there, yes I know losing a Super Bowl hurts, but you would have to admit that a brand new stadium is an awesome consolation prize!
Below is the Official link for the new stadium where you can read more info on the stadium, including where you can start purchasing tickets.