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Original Issue

The Host of Baseball Future

What a trip to the ballpark may look like 20 years from now

The baseball stadium of the future not only sinks into the dense urban fabric, but it also merges with it, creating a completely new vision of facades, in-park communities and fan interaction. At SI's request, the Kansas City, Mo.--based architecture firm Populous laid out this field of tomorrow—dubbed Living Park, since it reimagines the stadium as a community living room—with some flair, of course, such as interactive data glass, train lines sweeping through, and the city built right into the venue. We're a long way from an afternoon at Wrigley.


Urban Intertwining

There's no need for high-arching concrete and steel, because Living Park is built off the backs of street-facing buildings that contain everything from offices and apartments to retail spaces and restaurants. The interiors house some public spaces and luxury suites that wrap around the field, providing premium seating and stellar views. Instead of rising out of the city, the stadium sinks below and meshes sports and urban culture.

Modernizing Tradition

Living Park seats 37,500 people, but more can squeeze in when the open spaces above the outfield are filled to capacity. The building's tighter footprint and more vertical orientation allow the bowl and the suites to rise sharply, creating less encumbered views. The suites themselves offer places to socialize, dine or even shop. The dugouts, batting cages and bullpens are also accessible to allow fans up-close views of athletes.

Nature Nurtured

While a traditional seating bowl stretches below premium glass-enclosed spaces, the outfields incorporate other new types of space—some of it open to the public. The roof high above rightfield is a city park—a sly riff on the Green Monster—and an enlarged berm beyond leftfield gives stadiumgoers room to stretch out and mingle. A train line whizzes over the leftfield stands, helping fans get to the park and giving transit users a free look at the action.

Designing With Data

The massive LED board in rightfield is embedded in the glass exterior of luxury boxes but allows viewers within to see out. As with the rightfield board, the glass windows in dugout suites behind home plate project real-time data, including stats, instant replays and social-media feeds.