Bjarke Ingels to lead new ballpark project for A’s

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Oakland Athletics has hired Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to lead the design process for a new ballpark and surrounding development.

BIG will work in collaboration on the project with Field Operations as the landscape architect and Gensler.

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, said in a statement yesterday (Wednesday): “We are honoured and excited to team with the Oakland A’s to help imagine their future home where sports culture and local community culture unite as one. We envision a stadium district that will be active and inviting 365 days a year for athletes, fans and Oaklanders alike.”

BIG will lead planning for two possible ballpark sites – the existing Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (pictured) and a mooted location at the waterfront Howard Terminal. “We wanted a team that could look at the ballpark with a fresh perspective… and this is really a game changer,” A’s president Dave Kaval told the San Francisco Chronicle.

However, the newspaper noted that there are still a number of question marks over the ballpark plans. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is said to have told a private meeting with business leaders on Friday that the city doesn’t have the funds to buy out Alameda County’s half-interest in the Coliseum site to aid the development of a new stadium there.

Schaaf told the Chronicle on Tuesday that the situation is actually “a little more complicated.” She added: “We are fully committed to buying out the county’s share of the Coliseum land, but we will not repeat mistakes of the past by being financially irresponsible when it comes to sports teams.”

In May, Oakland City Council voted to grant the A’s an exclusive nine-month purchase option on the Coliseum site as team management also holds talks over a move to Howard Terminal.

Kaval said the A’s are still committed to an offer made in March to buy out the entire Coliseum site for $137m (£106.5m/€118.6m). “We are hoping that offer can be a catalyst to move a privately financed stadium offer forward for the A’s,” Kaval said.

The Chronicle added that A’s are firmly in favour of the Howard Terminal option, but would still like to secure development rights for the Coliseum as a potential means to help finance a waterfront ballpark.

The Coliseum has been home to the A’s and Oakland Raiders since 1968, but the NFL American football team is poised to move to a new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.

Image: redlegsfan21