Designed for disassembly: the push for a new approach to sports architecture in the 21st century
Myers, Scott J.
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The architecture of the sports stadium has evolved dramatically throughout its history. From the ancient gladiatorial arenas to the domes and retractable-roof ballparks of the 20th Century, the stadium has become an iconic and integral part of life, in our modern society. Through the globalization of sports and sporting events, such as the Olympics and World Cup, new and more exciting opportunities are being extended to those who, historically, have been without the resources or infrastructural means to support such endeavors. However, for all the excitement and optimism that accompanies the initial design and planning, the actual development of the necessary structures and support systems rarely provides the expected return on what, ultimately, becomes a staggering investment of time, money, and labor. In fact, operators have found it nearly impossible to provide for the continued operation, maintenance, and regular occupation of these facilities, thus resulting in an overwhelming burden on the local community. It is the purpose of this thesis to provide a survey of architectural precedents from selected mega-events of the last 100 years, as well as a number of other contemporary stadium projects, in an effort to fully convey the magnitude and relevancy of this issue, to identify industry trends and practical models, and more definitively present the need for an alternative approach to design. Additionally, a proposal will be put in place for more of a focus on modularity and prefabrication, in order to transform the Olympic or World Cup stadium into a less permanent element within the urban landscape. It is the hope that the systemic issues, currently associated with hosting international sporting events, may be remedied through the architecture, and ultimate disassembly, of the 21st Century stadium. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the negative impact of such undertakings, and to aid in the realization of the inherent potential for positive change therein.