Last week, for night four of the Trends in Design presentations, Rob Claireborne, lead architect of Lansdowne Park Stadium talked about the design process in architecture. What I got from his presentation is that "architecture is not just about form but about the gathering process over time" and it's that gathering process that gives you the inspiration to create something unique and interesting.
Of course the Lansdowne project was used as an example to explain that process. Based on Clairborne's knowledge of Ottawa, he knows that the current stadium and is not a pretty site. So for him it was important that the new site would make a good impression not only for the people living here but for all the visitors from all over the world. He was inspired by the movement of things around the stadium and wanted to create a stadium in a park. As opposed to the typical stadium surrounded by parking lots, the proposed stadium will be surrounded by trees and the goal is to have it open at all time for people to be able to enjoy the park as well.
I really like the wooden veil over the structure of the building, it's very organic. It definitely softens the look of the site. The wood to be used is called Alaskan Yellow Cedar. It's a Canadian tree that grows in BC and it's probably the strongest and most resistant tree we have here in Canada. It doesn't rot and has been used in various outdoor applications in Canada, including the awesome wave deck in Toronto (below). For the stadium the wood will "emerge of the landscape like trees dancing over the stadium".
The Frank Clair Stadium was apparently designed by the same company who constructed the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, so essentially "it's a bridge", as Claireborne pointed out. The shape of this building clashes with the Aberdeen building : Mid-century constructivism steel frame against a gentile Victorian facade. It doesn't work.
One thing I thought was a little concerning during the presentation is that the budget for the project is $85 million. Claireborne pointed out that a previous stadium project in New York cost $500 million and $700 million in Dallas. Typically, small neighborhood arenas cost $30-40 million. So the budget for Lansdowne is a bit of a challenge.
Nevertheless, it's a great change for Ottawa. Hopefully everything works out great and this will become a building for the city to be proud of... oh and hopefully whoever is designing the towers on the side of the stadium (I think they might be condos) come up with a better design than three gray towers, as shown in the picture below. To me they ruin the organic concept of the site and stick out like a sore thumb.
Photos: Cannon Design | Wikimedia Commons | skyscrapercity | OSMO Canada | MOOT |