A Renovated Australian Open

31 01 2012

I realize that tennis’ Australian Open ended this past weekend, but I want to address the renovated complex at which the world’s best players participated. Kansas City-based Populous, a renowned sports architecture firm, helped lead the charge – in concert with COX Architects – on the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Redevelopment.

The AUD$363M project added several new features – a 16,000-seat center court, a 6,000-seat court with a  retractable roof, and a facilities building for Tennis Australia, among other structures. New landscaping features and public squares were created to promote outdoor circulation. I have a slew of renderings of the redesign that I would like to share. I’m not writing a story on this project, so I don’t have very many notable details. But this project sure does look outstanding.



NBA players vs. refs; Orlando’s Amway Center

18 12 2010

Two more NBA-related articles posted yesterday. One is on SLAMonline, and it’s a review of how NBA players have adjusted to the League’s re-emphasis of how players should treat referees. When I attended the League’s referee meeting in Jersey City this past September, the League claimed that fans had called into the front office of teams and the League itself to complain about how often players complained to referees regarding their calls. Most of the writers in the room were skeptical of that claim by the League. Fans taking the time to call a team to gripe about how much players yelled at refs? It didn’t seem realistic; it appeared more like a convenient excuse for the NBA to use as it told players to essentially just shut up and play.

I’m not a fan of these new rules, as I think players’ emotions are harnessed too much. Athletes have enough to worry about during a game without having to constantly think whether or not their instant emotional reactions to a play might be offensive to a ref, especially if the reaction isn’t even directed at an official. To gain a sense of what players were thinking, I spoke to eight of them at a couple recent Nets games. Gasol and Barnes’ quotes were obtained after the Lakers played the Nets last Sunday. The other six guys’ quotes were gathered before a Nets-Sixers contest last Tuesday.

Click the link below to read the story:

NBAers Adjust to the Tech Rules

On a different NBA note, I used my fascination with sports stadiums/arenas/ballparks (I wish there was one word I could use for all these) to look into the technology employed at Amway Center. The home of the Orlando Magic contains a beacon at the top of a tower hovering over the front entrance. The beacon, or spire, is lit with color-changing LED bulbs. It’s a very distinctive architectural feature that isn’t often found on basketball arenas. This one is for Wired.com, so check it out if you’re interested by technology.

Click the link below to read the story:

Orlando Arena Lights Way for Sports Structures

Qatar’s soccer stadiums

8 12 2010

A view of the entrance to New Sports City Stadium in Doha. Image: Populous

I don’t have a problem with Qatar obtaining the 2022 World Cup instead of the United States. Why do we need the Cup? Those  stories of economic prosperity for host countries are usually baloney. Do we want to invest billions of hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of dollars into sports stadium upgrades? Would hosting a World Cup really put us over the top as a soccer-loving nation? I say no on both accounts. What I prefer is to let a loaded nation like Qatar spend $57 billion to host a month-long sporting event, then tear down half the capacity in most of their stadiums.

Of course, those stadiums look fantastic, which is why I spoke to the architect of one of them. New Sports City Stadium in Doha has a lot of great features, which I pointed out in this article for Wired.com’s Playbook.

Click on the link below to read the story:

Qatar World Cup Stadiums Promise Eco-Friendly Soccer Utopia