Has there ever been a better year for new and improved ballparks? You can add another good-looking facility to the 2019 list: Estadio Diablos, home of the Mexico League’s Mexico Red Devils (Diablos Rojos).
Opening this past April 5, Estadio Diablos—also known by a more formal name, Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú–was designed not only to be home to the Red Devils, but to serve as a national facility, seating 20,000 (11,500+ seats, 8,500 outfield berm capacity). Located at the Magdalena Mixhuca sports complex used as a 1968 Summer Olympics site, Estadio Diablos is designed to not only house professional baseball, but to serve as a community gathering spot. The design is from Mexican-born architect Francisco Gonzalez Pulido of Chicago’s FGP Atelier, teaming up with local architect Alonso de Garay of Taller ADG and Populous as sports consultant. And it is certainly unique, drawing upon local traditions to firmly establish a strong sense of place.
“Estadio Diablos is much more than a stadium, it is Mexico’s ballpark,” Gonzalez Pulido said in. press statement. “We challenged ourselves to create a stadium that would serve as a social and cultural center for years to come. As Estadio Azteca is the home of Mexican football, we intend for Estadio Diablos to become the home of Mexican baseball, and with it to offer inclusivity, encourage social engagement, and incorporate Mexican traditions. It was designed from the start to serve as one of Mexico’s landmark institutions and to re-instill a sense of excitement and passion into the sport of baseball.”
From a press statement outlining the ballpark design:
Upon entering the ballpark, visitors are confronted with six truncated pyramid-like forms clad in indigenous volcanic rock which form the base to much of the structure while also providing outdoor terraces at the higher level away from the arena that include food stalls and an area for socializing. The shape and materiality of the forms, which recall ancient Mesoamerican temples, serve as a reminder of the country’s rich history and also perfectly marry ceremony—by providing an awe-inspiring entrance—and innovation.
Overhead, the roof forms one of the most impressive aspects of the Mexico City’s largest stadiums to date. Aptly-shaped in the form of a devil’s tail to reference the home team’s devilish name, the monumental yet lightweight structure is composed of steel wrapped in PTFE textile material that plays with the light. The largest crane in the world was employed to life the technologically-advanced massive truss structures into position while digital scanning techniques secured precise alignment. It was also designed to collect rainwater to prevent waste. The actual stadium itself exhibits the feel of an open-air amphitheater because of the ‘floating’ trident spear roof and features an impressive 11,500 covered seats and 8,500 additional seats in the outfield—all designed to offer fantastic views of the ball game. Every aspect of the design was carefully thought out to encourage social interaction within and outside of the stadium.
To enhance the ultimate goal of creating a stadium for everyone, Gonzalez Pulido had to take into account the affluent crowd drawn by the nearby racetrack events and sporting events in general, as well as the lower-income community surrounding the facility. VIP level box rooms overlooking the field are incorporated and a certain amount of low-cost seating reserved specifically for the surrounding community were implemented. In addition, the pyramid-like structures were designed to integrate a public plaza circling the stadium. The plaza has various objectives—it is meant to be used year-round as a market for the community members to sell their goods—thus expanding their ability to create a sustainable source of income—and to bring a diverse group of people together.
It is also designed as a green facility, striving for zero water consumption via rainwater collection.
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