Our region is famous for it’s love of football and sports. We boast some of the most interesting and well-cared for sports stadiums in the country. Have you ever wondered how our stadium’s architecture evolved into the arenas we enjoy today? And what are some of the most exciting college football stadiums in our region? Let’s take a look at the fascinating art and architecture of sports stadiums.
A Brief History of Stadiums
Our infatuation with spectator sports and places to watch them has its roots in Greek mythology. The Greeks gave us the “horseshoe” stadium shape, and the Romans are credited with giving us the amphitheater design we know today: tiered seating, multiple entrances, and the immense scale built for large capacity crowds. The most famous of these is the Colosseum in Rome, built in 80 AD, and is really the father of all contemporary, modern-day stadiums.
Between Roman times and modern history, the building of stadiums fell out of Western cultural consciousness, offering us small jousting venues and such, until they began to be built again for cricket tournaments in England in the late 1700’s. The Lord’s Cricket Ground’s began to take shape in 1787, and its first building was opened in 1814.
In the United States, the first football stadium was built for the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin Field opened in 1895, and is the oldest stadium still in use for football games. Our large-capacity stadiums have only grown from there.
What Makes a Stadium “Good?”
The Art and Architecture of Sports Stadiums
Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC, is a 63,000-seat venue built into the surrounding landscape. Pine trees can be seen past the upper deck. Kenan opened in 1927, with expansions and additions taken on periodically throughout it’s history. The natural landscape surrounding the stadium is a stand-out characteristic.
Exterior Touches –
Doak Campbell Stadium on the Florida State campus in Tallahassee that seats 79,560. One of the distinguishing features of Doak Campbell Stadium is it’s brick exterior, which blends in naturally with the rest of the campus.
Lighting and Efficiency –
Modern stadiums are embracing green building and the advantages of energy saving design. The Heavener Football Complex (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) at the University of Florida has made changes in recent years, and Heavener recently became a LEED Platinum certified facility, reducing its energy use by 25% since adding energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors.
Next time you’re cheering on your favorite college team, take a look around at the stadium’s design!