Ericsson Stadium to be honored
June 27, 2003
The National Building Museum has announced that it will present its prestigious annual Honor Award for 2003 to Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL). The Honor Award recognizes the important and positive role that new football stadiums and baseball parks, including Ericsson Stadium, have played in the physical revitalization of American cities over the past decade, as well as the architectural and engineering excellence demonstrated by many such facilities.
"We are very proud that Ericsson Stadium is part of the prestigious Honor Award being presented to the NFL in 2003," said Carolinas Stadium Corp. President Jon Richardson. "It has been very rewarding for our entire organization to see the positive impact our facility has had on the revitalization of this part of Charlotte's downtown area. We will do everything in our power to make sure our facility represents the community well for many years to come."
The award takes on added significance since Richardson is chairman of the NFL Stadium Committee. With his guidance, the League opened more than 10 new stadiums in the last decade.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will accept the award before an anticipated audience of more than 1,000 cultural, corporate, real estate industry, political, and sports industry leaders. The festive black-tie gala will be held on September 17 in the landmark Great Hall of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
"Sports teams have always been an integral part of a city's character and civic pride," said Carolyn Brody, chair of the National Building Museum's board of trustees. "The National Building Museum is privileged to salute Major League Baseball and the National Football League for their leadership in the recent resurgence of urban sports facilities. These new stadiums and ballparks have a positive impact on local neighborhoods and many have received praise for their sensitive design and planning."
Over the past decade, as American cities have experienced a resurgence, there has been a trend among professional sports franchises to move back into, or build in urban centers. New facilities for football and baseball have spurred an impressive renaissance in many downtown areas. Ericsson Stadium is included on the list of 37 stadiums that will have been constructed or have undergone major renovations over a 15-year period from 1992-2006. This list includes 21 football stadiums, 15 baseball parks, and one shared facility.
These facilities in many cases have been the focal point of comprehensive urban revitalization strategies in their cities. Many of the stadium projects also have reinvigorated many urban communities, often encouraging the construction of new downtown housing, retail, and commercial centers.
Engaging and evocative architecture, careful planning, and innovative engineering all contribute to the popular appeal of new sports facilities, which are often credited with enhancing local residents' sense of civic pride. Houston's Minute Maid Park and Reliant Stadium, for instance, each feature an extraordinary retractable roof, allowing maximum flexibility for different events regardless of weather.
Cleveland Browns Stadium's design includes architectural gaps, allowing views of the downtown skyline and establishing a strong sense of connection to the city. Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards won acclaim for the thoughtful design of its circulation elements like ramps and stair towers, which are treated as architectural opportunities rather than utilitarian necessities.
Ongoing efforts to create outstanding sports facilities are also evident in projects now under consideration, such as the proposed New York Jets Stadium, which incorporates remarkable environmentally-conscious design strategies that will minimize energy consumption. All told, the new ballparks and stadiums built over the past decade or so serve as outstanding examples of how skillful design, engineering, and construction can yield beloved structures that enhance the public realm.