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IS SOFI STADIUM THE BEST STADIUM IN THE WORLD?

Actualizado: 7 de sep de 2020

SoFi Stadium will open in Inglewood after more than five years of design and construction. Owner Stan Kroenke will see his dream of a $2 billion (well, make that more than $5 billion now) sports and entertainment park begin to come true.

But here’s the more important news: From a design and urban planning standpoint, SoFi is, potentially, revolutionary.

That’s because, in many ways, this stadium is not really a stadium. It’s not a solid concrete and steel bowl where fans park cars and push their way in and out eight times a year. And it’s not a themed shopping mall and mini amusement park grafted onto a sports facility.

SoFi Stadium is a porous, indoor-outdoor, year-round complex featuring, yes, a 70,000-seat stadium and lots of parking, but also a 2.5-acre public plaza, an adjacent 6,000-seat performance space and a layered landscape filled with hills, trees, places to pause and sit and eat — all connected to a vibrant 25-acre community park surrounding a 5.5-acre lake.

The 300-acre complex, to be called Hollywood Park, is slated to phase in over many years more than 1.5 million square feet of retail, restaurant and office space (including the almost-complete NFL Network headquarters and studios), at least 2,500 townhomes and apartments and a hotel.


The idea of a stadium as the focal point for a mixed-use project is not new. So-called sports-anchored developments are becoming the norm nationwide, from Patriot Place in New England to the Arlington Entertainment District in Texas. But more than any of those developments (including downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live), this complex — its stadium’s façade curving like the sweep of the coast — is authentically inspired by, and caters to, its setting.


In classic SoCal fashion, the stadium, its edges open to the outdoors along the sides, blurs the line between interior and exterior, inviting visitors, and views, inside. It pulls in ocean breezes through its aerodynamic shape, its permeable flanks, the lifting of its seating bowl above the ground-level concourse and massive (60 feet by 60 feet) adjustable openings in its roof that can slide like sunroofs on cars. These openings can “tune” the wind flow, according to HKS, which designed recent stadiums for the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys.


The roof, which covers and unifies the stadium bowl, plaza and adjacent arena, is clad in ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE, a tough, translucent plastic that, thanks to its dotted frit pattern, shades fans from about half of the sun’s heat. The ETFE also will allow concerts, community gatherings, e-sports, the Super Bowl and the Olympics to carry on in the rare case of rain.


Connected to the stadium via textured pathways and a grove of palm trees is Lake Park, the other focal point of the development. The park has the potential to be a profound amenity for Inglewood.


An artificial lake — which collects water runoff from around the complex — was inspired by the lake at Hollywood Park Racetrack, which used to stand on the site. It’s surrounded by a mix of flora that’s even more robust than what is along the stadium’s edge, including some plants that are quite exotic. Lehrer calls them Dr. Seuss plants, including the strangely fractured monkey puzzle tree and the jug-shaped bootle tree. All are part of the Mediterranean biome, an effort by Studio-MLA to connect Southern California to similar environments worldwide, including the Mediterranean region, the Cape of Africa and Chile.


The state-of-the-art stadium re-imagines the fan experience and will host a variety of events year round including Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football Championship Game in 2023, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in 2028. Located on the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack, the stadium is the centerpiece of a 298-acre mixed-use development featuring retail, commercial office space, a hotel, residential units, and outdoor park spaces.



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