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Friday, December 02, 2011

When A Team Leaves Its Stadium, What Do You Do With the Building?

Back in February, an architecture conference focused on “concrete modernism” met in Houston. Included on the agenda: a tour of the famed Astrodome. The 65,000-seat domed stadium, the first of its kind when it opened in 1965, was the perfect destination for the group. But the visitors’ path through the venue had to be changed when, just hours before the event, an electrical fire broke out in the facility. The blaze wasn’t major, but it illustrated the extent to which the facility, once viewed as an engineering marvel, has deteriorated. “It felt like walking into a movie set of something prematurely aged,” says Sarah Whiting, dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, who was part of the group. “I find it incredibly sad to see what had been hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World essentially crumbling before our eyes.”

The fire was the latest chapter in the unceremonious decline of a facility that continues to remain an icon in Space City.

Recommended reading.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 02, 2011 at 09:47 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, business, memorabilia

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   1. 'Spos Posted: December 03, 2011 at 12:03 AM (#4005532)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHkvD7-u7y8&feature=related
   2. Run, Mookie, Run Posted: December 03, 2011 at 12:32 AM (#4005544)
from the headline, I assumed they would fire about a million rounds of ammo and then blow up the building while speeding away in their van, all without anybody getting hurt
   3. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: December 03, 2011 at 12:43 AM (#4005548)
The Astrodome, for example, is 18 stories tall with a 9-acre footprint; it can easily house a Boeing 777.


Yeah, but gettin' it inside's a b*tch.
   4. Tippecanoe Posted: December 03, 2011 at 12:55 AM (#4005552)
Yeah, but gettin' it inside's a b*tch.


I dunno, we managed to get that VW up on top of Old Main...
   5. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: December 03, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#4005589)
In a controversial move in 2009, the state-appointed emergency manager of Pontiac, Mich., sold the 80,000-seat Silverdome, once home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions, for just $583,000. Some residents thought the city got fleeced, but in his resignation later, the manager wrote that the stadium “had been sapping the lifeblood of the city for many years while it was sitting idle.”
If I remember correctly, the city was spending like $3M/yr for utilites, upkeep, and security. Like Tiger Stadium, there were any number of people with ideas (some good, some....fanciful), but no one could get any financing.

Also left unsaid, the Pistons played there until they built The Palace right around the corner. Ironically, Mike Illich would like the Pistons to play in his (long rumored, never confirmed) new arena downtown that he wants to build for the Red Wings.
   6. Something Other Posted: December 03, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#4005948)
I've been involved with some things like this; old military bases being decommissioned, and so on. Getting people to work together to make something happen is worse than herding cats and, of course, no one ever has any money. Something like the Astrodome either gets taken over by a private group for next to nothing, or it gets blown up. As you note, the running costs are just too high to turn a building like the Astrodome into a Young Adults' Rec Center, or the like. It's a shame. It's a interesting building that a lot could be done with. It needs a White Knight, but will either serve as a permanent home for monster truck rallies, or meet the wrecking ball before long.
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 03, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#4005980)
Why not just abandon it and let it decay? In a thousand years or so, it would be really cool, like the Colosseum. America could use some good ruins.
   8. Swedish Chef Posted: December 03, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#4005986)
America could use some good ruins.

Madonna isn't enough for ya?
   9. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 03, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#4006018)

Why not just abandon it and let it decay? In a thousand years or so, it would be really cool, like the Colosseum.


"While stands the Astrodome, Houston shall stand,
When falls the Astrodome , Houston shall fall,
and when Houston falls -- the world."
   10. Graham Womack Posted: December 03, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4006019)
The Solons left Sacramento after the 1960 season but their home there, Edmonds Field wasn't torn down until 1964. Former Sacramento owner Fred David tried in vain to get a new baseball team to come to town. He also hosted motorcycle races in the ballpark in 1961, but neighbors complained about the noise, and the practice was quickly abandoned.

After a few fruitless years, Edmonds Field met the wreckers ball. Interestingly, the Giants and Indians played an exhibition at the doomed park not long before this happened.
   11. Something Other Posted: December 03, 2011 at 11:37 PM (#4006071)
Speaking of intentional ruins, any Louis Kahn fans on this site?
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 05, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#4007232)
Why not just abandon it and let it decay? In a thousand years or so, it would be really cool, like the Colosseum. America could use some good ruins.


Albert Speer, while a reprehensible man in a lot of ways, did have some good ideas about designing stadia so that they'd leave attractive ruins behind.

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