The LA Rams and the LA Raiders are long gone, and Los Angeles still has no NFL team. But that hasn’t stopped developer AEG from pushing ahead with an elaborate effort to lure one, unveiling three plans for a proposed $1 billion stadium in Downtown LA last night.
The three schemes belong to Gensler, HKS, and HNTB, which were narrowed down from an initial RFP list of 9. Their designs all include a 1.7 million square foot stadium with a retractable roof, to enable convention events when football is not in town. The winner, according to the developer, will be chosen within the next month, and the stadium would be located on the site of the LA Convention Center’s West Hall, which would be demolished and relocated to a site over Pico Boulevard to the south.
“Stadiums belong in downtown,” said Tim Romani, President of Icon Venue Group, which is working with AEG on project team selection as well as design development and construction management. A competing LA stadium proposal, put forth by LA-based Majestic Realty and designed by architect Dan Meis, is located in the outlying city of Industry. The downtown stadium, on a 15-acre site, would seat 65,000 to 75,000 people. Construction wouldn’t begin until a team signs on, but if all goes according to plan, said Romani, the building would begin in late 2012 and the stadium would be ready for the football season of 2015.
The plans are still schematic, but at this point the most architecturally ambitious belongs to Gensler, which, firm Sports/Entertainment Director Ron Turner was quick to point out, has already designed much of the nearby LA Live, including the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott. Their stadium, according to Romani, would feature a lightweight ETFE roof, bulging outward and taking on an oval-shaped profile. HNTB, architects of Invesco Field in Denver and the 49ers’ future stadium in Santa Clara, presented a stadium that would take on a horseshoe-shaped plan with its west side largely open. It would have a PTFE roof supported by large steel trusses arranged in an accordion-like fashion. The HKS scheme would feature a cable supported PTFE roof with its large parabolic roof sections oriented so that one could look straight through the building to downtown. Its exterior walls would be clad largely with LED displays. That firm recently designed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the mother of all football fields, Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas.
Courtesy Gensler and HKS respectively
The Gensler and HKS schemes would take on North-South orientations, while the HNTB scheme would have an East-West orientation, allowing for a large plaza to the north. While architectural pizzazz is certainly important, Romani made sure to stress that cost effectiveness would be of paramount importance. “Our calling card is building a stadium for a lot less than people think,” he said. Each stadium would contain over 200 luxury suites to help with revenue. Another priority is fitting into the tight space downtown. All three stadiums would have fields sunken 30 to 40 feet into the ground, to help the buildings maintain a minimal profile in the downtown skyline.
AEG Vice President Ted Tanner said that the project would be funded completely by AEG, although when pressed about financing had no clear answers. To demonstrate the site’s feasibility he said that several hotels were already interested in moving to the area.