BIG Shares Plans for MLB Complex
Last week, architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group revealed plans for a new ballpark to replace the current home of Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics.
BIG, working in collaboration with Gensler on ballpark design, is spearheading master site planning. The new stadium is to be located along the Howard Terminal waterfront. Gensler’s previous Bay-area work includes the Golden State Warriors’ new Chase Center arena in San Francisco.
Toward the end of August, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf raised concerns with local business leaders in a private meeting over the fact that the city reportedly does not have the money to buy out Alameda County’s half-interest in the Coliseum site. Schaaf told the San Francisco Chronicle that the general picture is a bit complicated.
In May, the Oakland City Council voted to grant the A’s a nine-month purchase option for the Coliseum site.
As for choosing BIG and Gensler, A’s President Dave Kaval said “we wanted a design team for not just a ballpark but a ballpark district that's best for Oakland.” He also noted that the A’s wanted “this to lead to something that's more transformative for Oakland.”
BIG Design Reveal
Plans for the new complex include transforming the current Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Arena into a tech and residential area. The stadium is to be sited at the Howard Terminal waterfront.
“Our design for the A’s new home at the heart of Oaklands revitalized waterfront seeks to return the game to its roots as the natural meeting place for the local community,” said BIG founding partner Bjarke Ingels.
“An elevated treelined promenade frames the ballpark on all sides, dipping down to meet the public square and open the field to the water and city views. The perimeter park connects a cascade of social spaces for the fans to enjoy the sport on gamedays and extends the urban fabric with a neighborhood park to be enjoyed all 365 days a year. In other words—we are bringing the ‘park’ back in ‘ballpark.’”
According to designboom, BIG was inspired by traditional diamond park typology in designing the stadium, namely Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, which was once also home to the Oakland A’s. High-rises, running up to 20 stories tall, are to surround the 34,000-seat stadium, with some overlooking the field. The stadium’s accessible roof will also be equipped with a slice of green space, though the area is too windy for the stadium to be open to the water. An aerial gondola will also shuttle 6,000 fans an hour from downtown Oakland to Jack London Square.
A low-rise amphitheater will take the place of the 63,000-seat Coliseum, which will also be surrounded by affordable housing, a sports complex, a shopping strip and a tech hub. The adjacent Oracle Arena, known for hosting concerts and other live shows, will retain the same role.
On Wednesday (Nov. 28), the Oakland A’s also announced they would be beginning the year-long state environmental review of the Howard Terminal proposal. Otherwise, the team is currently in talks with the Port of Oakland for either leasing or purchasing the property, which has an April deadline.