HOK Sports, SmithGroup Architects, and the Rockwell Group
2100 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
The home ballpark of the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park replaced the old Tiger Stadium in 2000. The ballpark grandstand is wrapped in a themed enclosure that fits within the downtown street grid. The Rockwell Group has added a themepark feel with supersized Tigers, and building elements constructed of oversized bats and balls. there are Pewabic Tile decorative panels and bands with dimensional baseballs. Even the light fixtures are illuminated baseballs…in the mouths of tiger head sculptures mounted at the top of each pilaster surrounding the otherwise fairly traditional brick facade.
Within the promenade surrounding the grandstands, the designers have integrated an entertainment focused experience with a ferris wheel (where the cars are baseballs) and a merry-go-round (with the animals being Tigers of course). To my taste, it all feels just a little “too themed”. Pewabic Tile is beautiful in it’s own right, and the old english “D” feels right with the handmade arts and crafts tiles and the long history of the Detroit Tigers Team. The half round ceramic baseballs, laces and all, in the borders just seem a little too much to me. But then again, I am no longer a kid, and Disney seems to be pretty successful with mouse ears integrated in all aspects of their developments.
The photos I took this weekend are a sample of the exterior of the ballpark. The Tigers are away in the playoffs, and the stadium is being readied for the home games in the series. Maybe next year I can post photos of the inside of the fan friendly stadium, but I am afraid this years playoff games are all long sold out – and I do not have any tickets.
One advantage to the ballpark being integrated into the downtown urban fabric is even without tickets you can still enjoy the energy of the live ballgame. Just across the street and Grand Circus Park, is Angelina Italian Bistro. The exterior glass walls open up during good weather, so even without tickets, you can sit in the shadow of the ballpark lights, hear the roar of the crowd live, while watching the game on TV. (and the beer is cheaper than in the ballpark!)