Newly HOK-acquired 360 Architecture to work with A’s on Coliseum ballpark

In the 60’s, a Kansas City architecture firm named Kivett and Myers worked on two venues at what would eventually be named the Truman Sports Complex. Those two stadia, Kauffman (née Royals) Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium, bucked the trend of multipurpose stadia and stood out as great examples of sports architecture. Still considered excellent venues at over 40 years old, Arrowhead and Kauffman burnished the reputation of Kivett and Myers, leading to their acquisition by HNTB in 1978. Architects from HNTB’s new sports practice split off to form Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), whose sports group dominated the last 25 years of ballpark design. Then in 2009, the sports group (named HOK+SVE) broke off to form Populous, with the mutual non-competition agreements: HOK wouldn’t get into sports for 5 years, Populous wouldn’t go outside sports, conventions, and entertainment.

Now that non-compete has ended, and HOK is eager to get back into the sports game. Instead of starting up anew, they bought fellow Kansas City firm 360 Architecture, itself the product of the merger of two firms, CDFM2 Architecture Inc. and Heinlein Schrock Stearns. That’s enough mergers and buyouts to fill a season of Mad Men.

360 is the shingle responsible for the city’s Sprint Center, MetLife Stadium, the San Jose Earthquakes’ new stadium, and two upcoming venues: the New Atlanta Falcons Stadium and the new Red Wings Arena in downtown Detroit. If, as an A’s fan, you’re looking for something different in terms of sports architecture, those last two examples should give you hope.

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The Falcons turned the football world on its ear with their replacement for the not-old-at-all Georgia Dome. The iris-like retractable roof has perspective-based video screens and scoreboards embedded in its rim. The building’s metal panels comes with slits that light up and cathedral-style glass entries. Its part of an effort by Falcons owner Arthur Blank to have an iconic piece of architecture in Atlanta, a city sorely lacking at least in terms of modern work. 360 took that and went back through history, finding the dome at the Pantheon to be their inspiration.

In Detroit the focus is different. There 360 is putting together a “deconstructed” arena, where the ancillary operations of the building (concessions, etc.) are pulled away from the seating bowl. A single glass-ceilinged concourse serves most fans and connects to restaurants and even housing on the perimeter. The idea is to have the venue be part of a new, several-block redevelopment plan in downtown Detroit, just a stone’s throw from Comerica Park and Ford Field.

The full development will cover 45 blocks on either side of I-75, an area slightly smaller than Coliseum City’s core 120 acres. If the images in the above video look familiar, that’s because they’re reminiscent of 360’s work on the Fremont vision for Cisco Field. Again, there was a plan to pull the ancillary development away from the ballpark. The idea was to allow fans to come an hour or two earlier, then either watch batting practice, or shop and hang out at a restaurant or bar on the premises.

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It would be somewhat poetic to see that 2005 Oakland/2006 Pacific Commons concept resurrected in Oakland, with the sales pitch coming from a similarly-sized and scaled Detroit development that will be breaking ground in a few months. It’s that sense of scale that to me makes such plans more achievable than something gargantuan like Coliseum City that is so dependent on externalities. 360 Architecture is on a bit of a roll, and it would be fitting for them to achieve their biggest success on one the very first projects they worked on, in various forms over a decade. That’s some serious sweat equity.

48 thoughts on “Newly HOK-acquired 360 Architecture to work with A’s on Coliseum ballpark

  1. This is good news! I loved the Fremont and Coliseum North concepts (minus the swimming pool, we don’t need that in Oakland).

    The streets running under the bleachers, buildings attached. but detached, etc. It brings together a lot of the best parts of my favorite newer stadiums (Safeco, Petco).

    I hate getting excited with no real reason, dammit. Make it happen people!!!!

  2. I agree with you, jeffreyaugust. As Captain Pikard says on the Starship Enterprise – D, make it so.

    • The “Make it so” will have to come from the JPA/Oakland. Until they surrender their Coliseum City concept to either the A’s or Raiders, nothing will get built.

      • Indeed. Make it so was not directed at any single entity, but all of them. Us included. We need to make sure that the JPA knows we want this to happen and we need to be willing to pony up deposits for seats in any new stadium (I already am in SJ, Oakland, Concord, Pleasanton, where ever, just reiterating)

  3. Man, that arena in Detroit is going to be cool, love the concept. The stadium in Atlanta is nice and I’m sure it will have all the bells and whistles, but it looks a little too star wars for me.

  4. Yeah, it would be nice if it was similar to the Fremont concept, I liked that one a lot, but it would be even nicer, to actually get something built…

  5. yeah the fremont cisco field design from the park design itself to the surrounding neighborhood has always been my favorite choice.

  6. This is all going to come down to whether Wolff can make money developing the rest of the property and will he even get the property or be stopped by Oakland politicians, NIMBYs or the Raiders. I just don’t see Wolff giving any priority to a gigantic Raiders stadium nor should he.

    • I just hope that Wolff will make some money off this deal, and Oakland politicians NIMBY, and the Raiders “see the light.”

      “Make it so, Oakland.”

  7. Good luck Oakland. Who would’ve thought a year (or two or three or four…) ago that there’d even be a chance of a new stadium in Oakland. Hope it works out.

    • I did. I always thought there was a chance. It isn’t any more of a chance now than it was 4 years ago, because the heavy lifting is still not even near being done. But there is no better place than the Bay Area. The long pole in the tent has always been paying for it. Until we start seeing deets on that, or even a high level concept of how it will be paid for, I ain’t holding my breath. I am as cautiously optimistic as I have ever been in this process. But I was excited about Coliseum North, Fremont and San Jose renderings. I was excited about the path to paying for it in all 3 of those cases. I’ll wait for now…

      • I was excited about all renderings myself, (Coliseum North, Fremont, San Jose), admittedly a little more excited about any Oakland renderings, I always considered Oakland or San Jose a realistic option, and never really understood why some Oakland-Only/Pro folks, or Pro-San Jose folks, called me out for flip-flopping, or changing my view (I have been called out by both), when I have done neither, I will support any plan that keeps the A’s in the Bay Area, and will not be forced to choose one plan over another, or be drown into some silly fight.
        I think San Jose and Oakland are both great places, it’s too bad some will not allow themselves to be excited for a potential plan, in Oakland, San Jose, Fremont, or Dublin/Pleasanton for that matter, but to each his own.
        I will be enjoying The A’s playing anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, even if my preference is Oakland.

    • I hope it all works out as well.

  8. I really hope it works out in Oakland, to me is only right. I cant wait to see the renderings to the CC site. Besides the history and civic pride reasons, if you look at the Bay Area as one market and not Oakland market or SJ market, then the best location is Oakland since its in the center to the bay area, not to mention the best access to to park with Bart, Am-tract, Freeway and even Airport. Right now if my look appealing but neither did South Beach, Mission Bay before the Giants build their park. They transformed the area and the new CC will do the same.

    • *It might not look…..

    • I disagree a bit. There is a huge difference between Mission Bay and the Coliseum Complex. And it is what i disagree with, mainly, in your sentiment above. Though I also agree with your “best location.”

      The big difference between the Coliseum and MB is adjacency to a central business district and already planned development. Mission Bay didn’t get “good” as a result of Pac Bell Park. It was three blocks south from the end of the business district and two blocks north of the planned UCSF development. It was in between the already developed and the soon to come development. This story has played out in other cities to a similar “success.”

      The Coliseum will be very different because it is not located near anything that is already in the works or a central business district. It’s all part of the same “plan” and won’t benefit from the synergies that Pac Bell did.

      While there is a case to be made that Oakland is the best location geographically, there are several factors that actually support San Jose’s site. Median Income, adjacency to downtown, room for population growth and distance away from the only other existing MLB team are pluses. Especially when you consider that the A’s and Giants will split a very similar “halo” and compete for almost identical premium ticket buyers. If one team was 45 miles away from the other, their “halo” of ticket buyers and their target for premium tickets would be different.

      As I have heard Lew Wolff say, and I don’t disagree, if someone was looking at the Bay Area today and picking two cities to put teams in they would be SJ and SF.

      • All well said.

      • @ JM
        I hope it works out in Oakland as well, there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about a new ballpark, in San Jose, or Oakland, but I do have a bit of an exception, to one of your points.
        RE: if you look at the Bay Area as one market and not Oakland market or SJ market, then the best location is Oakland since it’s in the center to the bay area, not to mention the best access to park with Bart, Am-tract, Freeway and even Airport
        I agree with you 100%, as far as your second point regarding transportation, but you can’t simply hold up a map and say, where is the center of the Bay Area market, yes geographically it would be Oakland, but you left San Francisco and the Giants out of your comparison of San Jose and Oakland, and that’s a huge factor, because while it’s true Oakland is pretty much center of the Bay Area, another team plays just left of center (on the map), which goes to jeffreys point, or I should say Lew Wolff point, about a little more separation, between the two teams within the market being a good thing.

      • If you want to argue transportation, the proposed SJ site is/will be better in my book. Direct Caltrain, Capital Cooridor, ACE train, and VTA light rail already in place Plus eventual BARTservice once the downtown SJ extenson gets done and even before that BART to VTA connections at the Milpitas station. Plus more nearby highway access.

      • @ SMG

        Yeah, the transportation in either location is fabulous, don’t know if one is really better then the other, the Dirdon site will eventually have BART and high speed rail (that’s huge), also not sure how close the San Jose airport is to Dirdon, (big plus for coliseum site)
        This is where JM’s point about a centralized location really helps the coliseum site, as it’s easier to get to for a larger percentage of the population,but transportation certainly is not a challenge at either site.

      • And leave out Oakland and the East Bay with the largest population of any region in the Bay Area? Oakland and the East Bay have a population of 2.6 million residents compared to 1.5 in SF and the Peninsula. That SF, SJ preference is wrapped in stereotypes and revisionist math.

      • Elmano, it’s really not and you damn well know it. You just choose to ignore the business economics of the region at this point. I think we’ve all accepted it at this point.

      • what the hell is “revisionist math?” Math is math. History can be revised, math certainly can’t. 2+2=4, now, next week and well, forever.

        And how are they left out?

        It’d be awesome if you stopped with the reactionary bullshit anytime facts didn’t match your revisionist history.

      • The Giants ball park had a major part in transforming the area, but take out the park and the area is still appealing: is not to far from the financial district, waterfront and its San Francisco. The transformation could have easily happened without the ball park, (probably just with less bars/restaurants).

        I agree the coliseum is not is such a desirable area and the proposed development might not have the same impact to the area as the Giants park but it will transform the area. You have a a bunch of abandoned or or old industrial buildings down San Leandro St and the flea market that all of a sudden might look appealing to potential developers/investors. I believe the proposed coliseum would be the start of new developments in surrounding areas.

  9. Reading an article on the angels situation to get a new ballpark- pretty much the same as what LW wants to do in Oakland- economic assessment came back and said the land is more valuable without a ballpark and that’s the rub with the city now. Why give away land that they could make a bundle on selling to private developers. I would guess this same challenge is going to appear at some point in Oakland.

    • Anaheim is unique because of Disneyland and other tourist traps there. That land where the Angels stadium sits is very valuable because of that fact. No offense to Oakland – it likely takes in 1% of the tourist dollars that Anaheim pulls in. The Coli site land parcels would be much more economical than Anaheim’s.

      • @ duffer

        You hit it, that land in and around Angel stadium is priceless, that’s no slight to Oakland, because that land is more valuable then almost any land, anywhere.

      • Yep. It’s all about tourism/hotels, etc. Not a big deal in Oakland, though it could be if Oakland had more hotels (I wonder if there is anybody who builds and runs hotels for a living that might want to do something at the Coliseum site?)

  10. Well based on these recent tweets, at least Oakland has more idea of what it’s doing than the NHL and MLS do… talking about teams in Las Vegas… absolutely terrible ideas on both counts.

  11. OT: With the LA Dodgers moving their triple A affiliate, to Oklahoma City if the San Francisco Giants, take Sacramento (is there any doubt, they will), that would open up an opportunity in Albuquerque. I know most would like to go with Fresno, but Albuquerque has a really nice ballpark, good business community (mid-sized market), and although it won’t be as convenient as Sacramento, Albuquerque is a short air flight to about 130 of the A’s games, plus it’s the one option that’s the nearest to me.

    • The Dodgers evidently could care less about the Giants theory that moving their minor league affiliates locally is important (LOL) If the giants owners were more focused on building a winning franchise instead of blocking the A’s from San Jose, and suing the city of San Jose, or concerned about the location of their minor league affiliates, etc – they might be a more successful franchise.

      • @ duffer
        In all fairness to the SF Giants, I think the potential change has more to do with the Sacramento River cats, then it does the SF Giants but of course, it’s not as if the Giants won’t take full advantage of any opportunity, that could ultimately lend itself, to the A’s leaving the Bay Area, unlike the Dodgers, who don’t seem to be trying to force their neighboring team out of town.

      • More than 50% of MLB teams’ triple A affiliates are located long distances (out of state) from their MLB clubs. Most evidently do not believe the Giants idea that moving the affiliates more locally is a big deal. The giants have had an easy time in their division since they and the Dodgers have been the only over .500 teams for several years. Once the other NL West teams improve – the Giants will have a difficult time reaching the post season.

        They may have already peaked out after moving into phone booth park, and winning a few world series titles. The A’s – with a new ballpark in Oakland or San Jose, will likely return to dominating the Giants as before.

      • @duffer
        I agree with your last statement. When the A’s build their new stadium, they will likely return to dominating the Giants or at least being even. The A’s would have the newer stadium by almost 20 but the Giants will still have a nice waterfront ballpark. After the newness wears off, popularity would come down to who has the better product on the field.

        I was looking at baseball almanac website and since the new Giants park opened, they have outdrawn they A’s by almost double. From 1968-1999 however the A’s outdrew the Giants 19 out of 32 seasons. Some years the Giants would outdraw more, others years the A’s and some where pretty close. I think we will go back to that.

      • If the A’s eventually get the new ~35000 seat stadium they want, it will still be tough for them to outdraw the Giants. Not only would they need to sell out every game, but they’d need Giants’ attendance to drop by over 12%. That seems unlikely considering AT&T operated at near capacity even in years where the Giants were terrible.

  12. OT–but curious–since the gints dropped their S4SJ lawsuit does that mean that SJ EIR is now certified?

  13. @JM – Also, the A’s were beating the Giants at attendance 16 years to 10, and the trend was getting worse when Lurie sold the team (that’s likely why he sold the Giants) Signing Bonds, and the knowledge of a building a new Giants ballpark, boosted their attendance their last 6 years at Candlestick – otherwise the A’s would have dominated the giants even more.

  14. OT: While the Raiders and A’s continue their stadium sagas, The Skins are looking at building a new stadium to replace Fed Ex Field.

    • @ Mike 2

      After 17 years, image that? Add that to the Braves not too old of a ballpark, and the Rangers who are considering a new venue.
      The Oakland Athletics are truly in a situation that isn’t comparable to another team. Every team has either a new, newer, total remodeling, partial remodeled venue, or a classic ballpark, such as the Boston, or the Cubs
      Even the Tampa Bay Rays (the team compared to A’s the most), are not a true comparison. because they are trying to get their second baseball only stadium, while the A’s have not had one in the last 46 years in the Bay Area, the one time the received a renovation it was for a football team.

    • I like the idea of building a new stadium where RFK is now, but not for another 25+ years if we’re talking about it being built for the Skins.

      • Crazy, these teams our building two new venues before we can get one, and it’s not just the rich or highly populated markets, the twins have built two venues, since leaving the old Met, there version of the coliseum…

      • Snyder’s been talking about replacing FedEx Field for a few years. Wake me when a shovel hits dirt.

  15. The fact that Minnesota has built two venues for major league sports is nothing to be proud about or point to. The taxpayers in Minnesota are getting screwed paying for these places that have zero to negative economic return on public investment. let the owners, players and fans pay for these stadia.

    • @ Kalifornia Kid
      To some it’s a matter of pride, regardless of taxpayers getting screwed. I’m not defending the leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL), or the politicians that continually make municipality’s, pay millions, upon millions for the right to host one of these franchises, what I’m sating is, it part of the game, if you’re a tax payer that does not agree with it (I don’t blame you), but other than the obvious it’s still something many people are proud of.
      I sure would be proud of Oakland/Alameda County for building two new sporting venues, and be glad to help pay for it, within reason (I am no logger a taxpayer in that county) , I would have no problem paying extra fees, or surcharges to enjoy an event, but l I’m sort of biases as well.

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