As we predicted, the Oakland A’s have shifted the design of a new Vegas ballpark from a retractable roof design to a fixed translucent roof with windows opening to the elements a la Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.
We detailed that possible design last Friday. When announced in May we immediately questioned a plan for a $1.5-billion retractable-roof ballpark situated on only nine acres of land and seating 30,000. Eight acres is pretty much the smallest you can go in building an MLB ballpark–Target Field and Fenway Park both occupy eight acres. The smarter option: Go with a fixed roof to feel out that nasty Vegas sun and instead install openable windows to allow in the cooler night breezes:
Now, if that retractable roof becomes a fixed roof, nine acres is doable: the Astrodome, for example, sits on 9.5 acres and originally held 66,000 for baseball, while the roof of the Metrodome spanned 10 acres and sat 46,000 for baseball. Less capacity, smaller footprint. But after discussing a retractable-roof facility with fans and legislators, a moved to a fixed roof will undoubtedly be seen as a letdown, unless Gensler and/or HNTB/Bjarke Ingels Group can come up with a design a la Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders (NFL), which features a fixed roof while still allowing in the elements. This may be the path the A’s and their design partners follow: Allegiant Stadium manages the indoor-outdoor field with a translucent roof and a 80-by-215-foot opening featuring lanai doors, providing access to the outdoors. This design has won praise for keeping fans comfortable under the hot Nevada sun while providing outdoor access during the cooler nights.
The A’s are looking to include features that will provide an open-air option, while being able to make the facility a closed off space to allow for a climate-controlled environment when weather conditions require that.
Those features include having a partially retractable roof and/or retractable portions of outfield walls, similar to the lanai doors included at Allegiant Stadium. The use of ETFE translucent roofing panels like Allegiant will allow natural light to come into the building, while not creating shadow or heat issues from the sun.
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