New stadium to have industrial feel 'Cousin' to complement, contrast with Oriole Park

March 21, 1997|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' downtown football stadium -- now about 20 percent completed -- will incorporate features designed to both complement and contrast with neighboring Oriole Park.

The southern end of the Camden Yards site, where the football stadium is being built, is more industrial and less residential than the northern section. This will be reflected in subtle touches, such as exposed metal finishes inside the football stadium's premium lounges.

"We think the stadium will be not a copy of Oriole Park but a cousin of Oriole Park," Maryland Stadium Authority executive director Bruce Hoffman said in a presentation yesterday before the BWI Business Partnership, a business group.

For example, the style of the 750,000 bricks used at Oriole Park was picked for its similarity to those in the railroad warehouse that forms the stadium's visual soul and its dramatic, eastern border. They also are consistent with the historic row homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The $190 million football stadium's 2 million bricks will be a richer maroon color in keeping with the industrial flavor of the location. The mortar between the bricks, and the exposed steel supports, will have a pewter tint. Oriole Park's structural steel is a hunter green.

Hoffman, who oversaw the construction of Oriole Park, said he's sensitive to the challenge of matching what has become one of America's most acclaimed ballparks. The same architectural firm, Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc., is responsible for the Ravens' stadium.

Other distinctive features: three-story, glass windows enclosing the premium club and sky-box levels. The upper deck also will have "notched" corners to give motorists on the nearby, elevated highways a view into the stadium and fans inside a view of downtown. The noncontiguous upper deck also allows the end zone's upper-level seating to be lowered closer to the field.

Work is progressing on time and on budget, Hoffman said. About 450 workers are on the site daily now. Most of the concrete support columns are in place, and the seating decks are going in.

Ravens owner Art Modell, also speaking at the breakfast meeting yesterday, said, "Nothing will equal this stadium."

He said the team, which also will act as stadium manager and event promoter, has spoken with the University of Maryland about bringing a game up to the new stadium, possibly against Florida State. Modell said he hopes to also have concerts and high school championships played there.

"We will be active in the concert business," he said. The state will get half the profits from any non-NFL events held there.

One event he doesn't expect to land is an annual "Governor's Cup" preseason game against the Washington Redskins. Because they play in different conferences, the two teams ordinarily would play each other every few years.

Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, who once hoped to lock up the entire Baltimore-Washington market, has been cool to the Governor's Cup idea, Modell said.

"Not under the current Redskins ownership. He doesn't want to accept the fact that the Ravens are here," Modell said.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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