venta pastillas aciclovir venezuela precio dulcolax 12h tabletas pastillas bentyl venta df nociones de orden clases motilium humanos reglas tecnicas y normas lipitor venta en la argentina citalopram solucion para nebulizar precio precio del bupropion en farmacias españolas himcolin que precio tiene costo de prometrium en colombia cialis y minoxidil precio como se toma las tabletas cymbalta pastillas levothroid precio 2013 bystolic ac 5 precio venezuela xeloda precio colombia ibague cual es el precio de la dapoxetine costo de la pastilla calcium carbonate en ecuador precio de rumalaya en farmacias de chile inderal antialergico jarabe precio ceftin vademecum precio costo pastillas abortivas estrace contraindicaciones apcalis sx tabletas que precio tienen las pastillas omnicef en venezuela citalopram oros precio chile venta de eulexin en tacna periactin venta en mano madrid genesis azulfidine costo costo de lotensin ecuador precio del detrol suspension eldepryl losartan potasico precio 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presentacion precio de la pasta neurontin en colombia venta pastillas proventil saltillo amitriptyline pastillas precio en colombia el kemadrin es de venta libre en la argentina ginette 35 venta en quito ecuador venta de temovate en tacna femcare venta libre bupron sr pastillas precio en mexico colchicine venta colombia venta de aciphex en peru arequipa decadron tabletas posologia venta de olanzapine en chile santiago efectos secundarios cardura tabletas que precio tiene pyridium en chile lanoxin venta cali precio del atorlip pediatrico venta de prevacid en anzoategui pastillas depakote precio en colombia bactrim venta en temuco amantadine pastillas venta en argentina venta pastillas septilin españa januvia generico precio en argentina fincar venta guadalajara viagra genérico opiniones venta de fertomid en culiacan venta medrol en mano madrid precio del tegretol comprimidos nociones de orden clases micardis humanos costo de pastillas toradol el precio celexa zoloft barato en el df glucotrol xl venta en tachira levlen tabletas sin receta paxil es venta libre citalopram precio panama precio de evista en farmacia ahumada venta de promethazine en managua precio de doxazosin en méxico sominex suspension precio calan embarazo precio venta pastillas mycelex g españa colospa generico mexico precio precio pastillas finast mexico como usar bentyl tabletas precio de crema bystolic en argentina silvitra interruptivos de la prescripción penal super avana venta en farmacias lima venta de dutas en madrid españa venta de serevent en farmacias similares substancia activa de flexisyn tabletas retin a venta uruguay lipotrexate precio 2012 df bupropion precio medellin risperdal precio en puerto rico precio de las pastillas tenormin en farmacias similares precio de bystolic 100 venta de pastillas anafranil en chihuahua es prohibida la venta de dulcolax en nicaragua roxithromycin 10 precio elimite 100 precio precio de innopran xl generico clozaril de venta en guadalajara precio de la 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en toda nicaragua venta pastillas reglan quito lariam venta en farmacias argentina dutas tabletas reacciones secundarias venta de skelaxin en mty citalopram buen precio precio allopurinol 12h tabletas precio mycelex g 600 doxazosin 90 precio argentina furosemida roxithromycin precio precio de toradol spray nasal costo de la pastilla toprol xl en ecuador sildalis precio en farmacias guadalajara venta de pastillas anacin buenos aires terramycin precio barranquilla precio de la pastilla precose en venezuela el precio de la pyridium en la farmacia venta de zaditor en puerto rico zyban precio similares vantin venta bogota probalan venta en barcelona cual es el precio de la pastilla flonase precio premarin hermosillo zebeta tijuana precio retin a precio en panama medrol jarabe precio venta de pastillas xenical en villavicencio meta g4 glycomet tabletas orodispersables precio de flexisyn gasas desyrel nombre genérico precio de la cefixime en farmacias guadalajara nizoral en chile venta cual 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pilex precio españa himplasia luxfil precio protonix de venta en farmacias guadalajara cozaar d precio dulcolax generico a muy buen precio orlistat lilly precio precio flagyl er pastillas venezuela precio actual de lotrisone en venezuela venta de acivir pills en tegucigalpa honduras precio de yasmin en méxico zyloprim tabletas pdf precio de benicar 1 en mexico venta de vantin en santiago chile venta pastillas entocort bogota colospa precio argentina 2012 aleve venta españa baclofeno zenegra precio antivert pastillas precio chile para que se usa el zyprexa tabletas decadron venta en guadalajara sumycin crema precio farmacia ahorro el triamcinolone es de venta libre en chile medrol cual es su precio en mexico phexin tabletas para la varicela el precio del liv 52 en argentina elavil venta en uruguay albenza precio en farmacias chile cual es el precio del cardura en argentina plendil cc precio costo de la trandate en venezuela benemid venta en colombia malegra tabletas y lactancia vermox nombre genérico y comercial costo de las pastillas erexin v en ecuador dosis de gyne lotrimin tabletas para herpes labial precio de medicamento terramycin serevent misoprostol peru precio cuanto es el precio de la apcalis sx zetia que precio tiene en mexico venta de geriforte en la serena chile venta de compazine piura requip crema precio colombia precio diltiazem tabletas venta de pastillas temovate en usa precio de la aygestin en mexico venta de top avana en el salvador cual es el precio del triamcinolone precio del danazol misoprostol tamoxifen precio en puerto rico remeron precio panama vytorin hidroclorotiazida precio himcolin tabletas pdf diltiazem de compra y venta costo del detrol en mexico 2011 precose costo en paraguay robaxin tadalafil precio en argentina venta de ginette 35 2013 chile sarafem en argentina precio paroxetine venta bajo receta serpina venta libre argentina posologia de apcalis sx tabletas el propecia es de venta libre en la argentina venta de aleve colima costo del calcium carbonate en mexico 2013 vytorin tabletas para sirve precio de zoloft venezuela venta de triamterene mexico precio de actonel plus suspension precio comercial del septilin en colombia cuantas tabletas trae la caja de v gel precio del bupron sr pediatrico levlen venta en andorra precio de voltaren 1 en peru cual es el costo del alavert venta de pastillas keflex en quito que precio tiene la pastilla cytotec en ecuador venta chloromycetin puerto montt nootropil bogota venta precio de myambutol en farmacias similares precio de la femara en farmacias en mexico astelin precio argentina venta de celadrin en valledupar pastilla terramycin precio ecuador precio vasodilan comprimidos argentina precio de top avana en colombia precio de las pastillas desyrel en ecuador venta de alavert en farmacias de peru luvox tabletas para herpes zoster precio del medicamento urispas respimat glycomet venta en puerto rico venta de ampicillin en venezuela barquisimeto clorhidrato de fenazopiridina (evecare) precio albendazole nitrofural precio crisplus shuddha guggulu precio en venezuela que precio tiene una pastilla de pariet en colombia roxithromycin plus precio venta de lariam en la paz bolivia el precio plavix cephalexin precio en ecuador antabuse suspension infantil precio venta de artane en santiago de chile rosuvastatina maxalt precio españa neurontin venta en jalisco celadrin precio argentina venta de anacin en farmacias de quito zoloft precio argentina 2014 strattera embarazo precio decadron que se consideran venta slim tea tabletas cuanto cuesta medrol venta df diclofenac gel urgentes que no requieren orden del fiscal biaxin venta en guayaquil dosis de abana tabletas para herpes labial sinemet precio en chile etodolac precio pasto atorlip nombre genérico precio de lindeza nolvadex strattera lazar precio venta de dutas en playa del carmen venta pastillas xenical en peru proventil venta en caracas venezuela venta de triamcinolone en chile 2012 precio actual de atrovent en venezuela venta de pastillas arimidex en buenos aires clopidogrel kemadrin precio precio del keflex en mexico 2013 phenergan precio voveran pastillas venta en venezuela benemid venta en iquique venta de v gel en villavicencio reglan 4 pastillas precio venta de cystone generico en españa costo del glucovance en mexico 2012 acticin parches precio precio de diovan en farmacias chile kemadrin junior precio colombia farmacia online venta tulsi sleep precio de medicamento skelaxin venta de keflex en peru 2012 venta de pastillas imitrex en chile fertomid pediatrico precio venta de urispas en venezuela 2012 avodart venta en santa cruz bolivia innopran xl nulos de pleno derecho prescripción el epivir hbv es de venta libre en argentina innopran xl suspension precio mexico shallaki venta en cali precio de oxytrol f super avana venta en santa cruz costo del synthroid en venezuela para que sirven las tabletas chloramphenicol orlistat generico de venta en mexico celebra exelon precio cuales son los femcare urgentes que requieren orden del fiscal precio de medrol generico en chile nitrofurantoin jarabe niños precio lamictal de venta en estados unidos venta de protonix en monterrey n.l cual es el costo del curso alavert venta de serophene en trujillo peru diltiazem tabletas colombia genérico prednisone budesonide 100 mcg precio de epivir hbv en farmacia ahumada trandate tabletas y embarazo zithromax misoprostol argentina precio avalide 0 2 precio costo de las pastillas de methotrexate fucidin urgentes que requieren orden previa y prorroga del fiscal lotrial 5 clonidine precio glucovance precio farmacia del ahorro mexico glycomet en españa precio diclofenac gel flas precio chile quibron t generico a muy buen precio acticin oros precio en venezuela farmacias del ahorro precio de reglan venta de micronase en medellin precio de una pastilla de diabecon en colombia isoptin presentacion y precio en venezuela venta de rosuvastatin en monterrey precio de zocor en tijuana nicotinell tabletas con alcohol alli tabletas fuego labial fml forte compositum suspension precio grifulvin v d.precio en venezuela entocort met tabletas recubiertas venta de januvia contrareembolso en españa venta de bystolic en sogamoso desyrel venta en guatemala venta de pastillas keflex en cochabamba top avana ampolletas precio precio en colombia de zyprexa venta libre de nexium en quito precio de sildalis en mty shampoo zyprexa precio elavil 500 precio strattera crema precio uruguay comprar midamor en línea promethazine pastillas precio es legal la venta de gyne lotrimin en ecuador venta de lamictal ibarra venta de cymbalta en temuco endep genérico opiniones venta de ampicillin sin receta en chile 2013 pastillas temovate que precio tienen venta de singulair en chihuahua duo alesse inyectable precio clopidogrel duphalac precio cardizem que precio tiene propecia precio farmacias del ahorro nootropil venta en ecuador venta de lynoral femenino en ecuador slimex venta valencia 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crema precio colombia venta de paroxetine en chiriqui phenergan tabletas para embarazadas venta de slimex sin receta en santiago venta de pastillas carafate en trujillo venta de arava en tlaxcala viagra de venta en estados unidos venta de inderal online en argentina venta de atrovent en guadalajara jalisco mexico go ginseng tabletas dispersables costo de la caja de venlor midamor precio pasto venta de butacas para salon de serpina lipothin nitrofural precio
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Earl Santee - Ballpark Development PDF Print E-mail
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The Biz of Baseball - Interviews
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 09 April 2006 12:00
Earl SanteeIn this interview, Santee of HOK talks the Twins and Marlins continued efforts for new facilities, and how HOK approaches projects that are not yet funded, how the stadium design process is launched, which designs have been the most challenging, the downsizing of seat capacity in current designs, how upper deck design is approached in the context of lower bowl seating, Busch III, the New Nationals design, how Value Engineering is approached, what options by the client allow for a moving away from the nostalgic, or retro design, and how HOK can approach further work without resting on their laurels.
In the 1960s and ‘70s a series of multi-use stadiums were built starting with RFK Stadium, and moving the through the likes of the Astrodome, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Busch Stadium II, and the Kingdome that has garnered a label within ballpark history as the Cookie-Cutter, or Cement Donut age of ballpark design.

As it sits now, we are in another design era that simply will be called the HOK Era.

Since the development of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992, HOK has been the gold standard by which many clients looking for new facilities start, and nearly always end.

At the heart of many of these designs by HOK Sport, which is a division of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, is Earl Santee.

Santee has worked on more than 18 Major League Baseball parks and 40 minor league and spring training baseball projects, including the successful completions of PNC Park, Minute Maid Park and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. His responsibilities include design, project direction, interior architecture, cost estimating, feasibility studies and master planning.

As a Senior Principal at HOK, Santee’s influence on a vast array of ballparks developed, or in the works is astounding. A small sampling of his project experience includes:

  • Washington Nationals New Ballpark, Washington
  • New Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
  • PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
  • Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
  • Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
  • Wrigley Field Renovation, Chicago, Illinois
  • Portland MLB Site Analysis, Portland, Oregon
  • Northern Virginia MLB Site and Concept Design
  • Kauffman Stadium Improvements, Kansas City,
  • Busch Stadium Master Plan, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Minnesota Twins Site Study, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Shea Stadium Redevelopment Study, New York,
  • Florida Marlins New Ballpark, Miami, Florida
  • New Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
  • Las Vegas MLB Study, Las Vegas, Nevada

He recently received the top honor on Sports Business Journal’s list of Most Influential People in Sports Facility Design, Architecture and Development. He currently serves as principal in
charge of the New Yankees Stadium and the New Washington Nationals Ballpark designs.

Given the scope of Santee’s experience, it would have been impossible in one sitting to touch on every ballpark he has had a part in. Topics include the Twins and Marlins continued efforts, and how HOK approaches projects that are not yet funded, how the stadium design process is launched, which designs have been the most challenging, the downsizing of seat capacity in current designs, how upper deck design is approached in the context of lower bowl seating, Busch III, the New Nationals design, how Value Engineering is approached, what options by the client allow for a moving away from the nostalgic, or retro design, and how HOK can approach further work without resting on their laurels.

This extensive interview would have been far longer had Santee been able to talk in detail about both of the upcoming projects in New York in New Yankee Stadium, and the new Mets facility design.

Enjoy.Maury Brown


Selected Ballpark Design Renderings
Courtesy of HOK and the NY Mets

Click on images for Large view

Select links for hi-res versions

Nationals Renderings

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Hi-Res NE View (4.91 megs)

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Hi-Res NW View (2.02 megs)

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Hi-Res SE View (1.94 megs)

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Hi-Res SW View (1.94 megs)

 

Marlins Renderings
Courtesy HOK

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Hi-Res Aerial (4.87 megs)

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Yankees Renderings
Coming Soon

Twins Renderings
Courtesy HOK

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BizBall: Your bio mentions that you served as Principal on the first two major league ballpark design-build bridging projects: PNC Park and the New Busch Stadium. Can you explain what a design-build bridging project entails?

Santee: Design build bridging is where we are the design architect and we take the drawings to a certain point in the project. At that point, the contractor hires an architect directly to complete the work and the architect works for the contractor.

We stay with the owner and act as his advocate for design of the project. So the bridging aspect is that we "bridge" the design through the owner and not the contractor—the design build job basically.

In traditional design build jobs, the design architect is the architect of record. In design build bridging all of the cost overruns are born by the design builder, which would include design errors adnomissions and so on. In traditional building that’s not necessarily the case.

BizBall: How big of a role does consensus play in stadium designs that involve public/private partnerships?

Santee: Well, quite a bit.

Obviously, it depends on how strong the team is about their design objectives and then how those design objectives may marry with a community’s objectives for themselves, as far as future planning purposes or master planning purposes…if they want to build more than just one project, and what the influence of the project design might be on that (planning). So building consensus on design is important so everybody has a common direction and common goal, and at the end of the day they feel like there is a broad sense of success that is borne not just by one group.

BizBall: In many cases, you and HOK have been working on some designs that are, for lack of a better word, in limbo. The Twins design and site, along with the Marlins are two of these as the clubs continue to work on funding. How do you approach these projects, and, if you could, explain the adaptability part of that process.

Santee: Those projects are a lot like all of our projects. The most difficult part of any project is getting them funded. That’s as simple as it gets—some projects can be done in a year or two, like in Pittsburgh. Some projects take 15 or 16 years, like San Francisco.

So adapting is not a term I would use; I would probably say that we learn to be patient and let the process take on its own life and let it go its own course.

When the time comes you deal with all the changing environment conditions. Our job at that point— like with both the Twins and Marlins—is to create a sense of excitement and interest in the project that helps support the interest in that project from a funding standpoint and a public acceptance standpoint.

Once funding happens, in most cases, you get into a much more serious design process because you’ve got a schedule, you’ve got money that supports construction and building, and you’ve got risk…risk in the project both from a budget and time standpoint. A lot of it is just being patient and letting the process take its course. It’s different in every State but there is always a process and 9 times out of 10 it’s lengthy and not something that happens in a year or two.

BizBall: Given the number of ballpark projects you are working on, is there a method by which you can take a previous design and use that as a jumping off point, or do you approach each design from scratch?

Santee: They are from scratch. What we do historically is with what we callBaseball 101, because a lot of times when we start a project we have people that don’t understand the design elements and why things are done the way they are, and how those things relate to the building—from a design standpoint, from a functional standpoint, and so on. So we’ll do that at the beginning and then we do a thing which is really just interviewing all the stakeholders and try to get as much input about what they want in the building.

It’s a very traditional kind of architectural process where you’re finding out the needs of the users and you’re finding out facts about the site and about the city. From that you develop a process that creates the building. That kind of gives you the functional side of it (the process).

The form side of it is narrowly driven by, in many cases, one or two people on the owner’s side who have a strong opinion about the form. On the public sector side many, many people have opinions about the form. So you try to take all that into consideration with what the design of the project is moving toward.

In a lot of ways it’s like baking a cake in that you know how many ingredients are there but where and when you put them, and how big the cake is, and how you decorate, is really distinct to each process.

BizBall: Of the 18 MLB ballpark projects that you’ve worked on, which one was the most challenging?

Santee: I think the jobs we have now are the most challenging. The shift from a design perspective is, we’ve done some really great projects and people are happy with them, and now everybody wants to do something different or better.

Understanding that "different" or "better" sometimes makes things more complicated; may take longer or cost more, so this is the challenge within any design process.

The expectations are quite a bit higher now than they had been. They always were high, but now they are higher than they were. I think a lot of times people use the past projects as “okay I know you did this but can you do this?” and they’re changing the paradigm of what these projects are and can be.

They’re challenging…the New York jobs, the DC job, what we had to go through in St. Louis, these are very challenging projects. They challenge us from a design standpoint and they challenge us from a process of how we deal with all the complexities—how many people want to have input into the project. Who we try to satisfy; that’s another key point. Trying to determine who we need to satisfy in the process is very challenging.

BizBall: There seems to be more of a shift now towards revenue generating, such as total seat capacity coming down, there seems to be more emphasis being placed on other revenue streams, mostly in the form of suites. Is that a reasonable comment?

Santee: No. Since the early 1990s revenue was always a mainstay for the purpose of building a new building, along with the functional obsolescence of the buildings there were in. Nowadays suites have really come down.

What I will agree on though, is that looking at revenue in each market is distinct, and that drives the building design to be distinct.

It isn’t all about seats, it’s not all about suites.

In fact, I’d say if anything the baseball suite market has shrunk significantly over the last five years. I mean significantly. It is about providing distinct experiences for the premium seats just like you do with the everyday fan, and that makes the buildings different than what they were before. When we do suites now, there are not many of them and we do them in such a way that they have a position that causes the design to stay uniquely different. Like in Jacobs [Field], where you have three levels of suites along the third base line, but I don’t think you see the suite market driving the design of the projects anymore. In fact, it’s one of those ingredients but we’re definitely in a shrinking suite market and it has been for five years.

I think we’re at the smallest it’s been in a long time. The interesting part about that is that it gives us some more flexibility, because the numbers of suites in these buildings are not an enclosed building form like some football stadiums might be, so that we can put suites in different positions. We know how many suites we can put on one level and it allows us to make a much more intimate seating goal, and more interesting seating goal because we can split the decks up into four or five different organizations that make it interesting for that city or that team.

Revenues have always been there, and think that each team’s leadership really wants to add something to where they know their market really well and they want to work with us to design original and thoughtful forms for their markets. That’s good because it gives the community a much stronger connection to the building and hopefully that strong community connection means more revenue.

BizBall: On the proximity of (especially upper deck) seating to the field ... What's the acceptable distance compared to what it used to be, and where do you see those standards of acceptability going?

Santee: Well, we are designing much smaller upper decks like what you’ll see in St. Louis. There, you have only 9,500 seats in the upper deck, so I think what you’ll see in the future.

From a personal viewpoint, that is my preference: Build as many lower deck seats as I can.

Part of that is usually based on grade or access by the street. The experience of being in the lower deck is much different than being in the upper deck. I’m an advocate of large lower decks, starting with PNC Park and now St. Louis, which both have fairly significant lower deck capacity. So I’m an advocate of large lower decks and small upper decks, for a variety of reasons.

BizBall: Let’s go through a few of the ballparks that you have worked on…

Busch III has been interesting in that it has been developed in phases, and the footprint places it close to an Interstate freeway. How did you approach these aspects?

Santee: The phasing around Busch Stadium—I found out today (3/15/06) that they are finally laying sod. One of the ways to make phase one more function was to move the scoreboard so that it would not be impacted by the demolition of the old Busch Stadium.

I think it was more of a construction feat than a design feat. We put so much emphasis on stuff in the lower deck and things between the baselines, such as left field, which is where the old Busch sat wasn’t as critical for the construction process.

As far as the highway (I-64), we just had to be sensitive about it. We couldn’t push it any farther north because that’s where Busch Stadium was. It’s not unusual to have those kinds of constraints. They were difficult. The highway was something we had to think about from a noise standpoint. The architecture of that side of the building addressed the city and streets and so on, and I think we made reasonably good decisions about it.

We’ve got strong entry and seating points along first and third base and right field, and all of left field and center field are wide open to the city. Our design objective was to connect the building to the city itself and that was strongly related to how we positioned the building on that side, and coincidentally it was adjacent to the highway. But, at the same time it gave it the strongest connection to the city.

BizBall: In the case of some of the current designs you are working on, there is the use of a frieze. Can you go over how HOK decides whether or not to use one?

Santee: Some of our clients want to connect to the history and heritage of the franchise, and that may make for a fairly literal connection that manifests itself in some architecture.

Some of those issues are just logical design solutions to complete the design of the building. That’s one of the things that the Nationals project does, is that it allows a little more freedom for people to think in a broader sense about architecture as it relates to sports.

Historically that’s been (arena design) fairly modernistic in its approach. Football projects, while they started out to be more modernistic, have been both traditional styles and modern styles. Some are transitional, like the Chicago Bears stadium. That makes it interesting.

Baseball fields are baseball fields. It has the same physical dimensions. If you’re doing the job right you’re trying to get the fans to have the most intimate personal experience as you can. The shape of the stadium and its relationship to the field is something you can’t separate. Would we want to? I don’t know if anyone would want to.

I always remember that people said that Oriole Park and Jacobs Field look alike, and I said the only parts where they look alike is the grass field and that they share the same baseball configuration.

The architecture is that one is modern and one is a traditional building form.That’s always been a little bit of a challenge.

The same is true with football; because you’re designing to such a specific sport, and the sport has such a specific size that you try to make the best possible experience for the people who are going to use the building. You would think the seats would conform to the playing field. The only architecture is whatever else you put around the seats, whether it’s more development or inclusive development or exclusive development.

I think in 10 years you really will see a change in how buildings have provoke thought that is connecting the building to more than just the building form. I think you’re going to see more of the St. Louis Cardinals and PETCO analogy where people are trying to do more than just one building at a time, and try to create a district or neighborhood for the community. I think you’re going to see more of that in the future than you do now.

That’s part of the process with DC, is that they are trying to build community and the ballpark is one piece of it. So I think you’ll see more of that. Frankly it’s more fun for us. The more challenging the jobs are the more fun they are. I think that we’ve done quite a few, and having projects that challenge us is a good thing. It’s what motivates us to come to work everyday.

BizBall: On the Nationals design… The use of double decker suites has raised the overall height of the design. I have heard that the new facility will be 21 feet taller than RFK. Can you verify that, and how do you design a facility with this attribute to allow those in the upper deck the best visibility?

Santee: I’ve always stated this on DC, and it too has a large lower deck. Comparatively speaking it probably has half as many upper deck seats as RFK. So what that means is that this is where the whole evaluation analysis comes into play, which doesn’t actually work well, is that we could have added a lot more upper deck seats and gotten some seats a little bit closer. But, I think it’s better that you have a lot more lower deck seats and you have a lot more people closer. That’s really the shift and that is clearly a design shift.

I think they’ve got 23,000 or 24,000 seats in the lower deck, and let me tell you, that’s a great lower deck. If I didn’t do 23,000 or 24,000 seats down there and I put 3,000 or 4,000 more seats in the upper deck—and again this is where I think things are from a design point— I think lower deck seating is a much more valuable play for the fan.

I guess there are people who would rather sit in the upper deck seats than the lower deck seats, and I don’t know why, but I think we’ve had a preference in the last four or five years to create a stronger emphasis on the lower deck seating just because of its accessibility to the fan.

BizBall: There has been talk of trying to get the bouncing stands into the new stands that have become a signature at RFK. Is HOK working on this design aspect for the ballpark?

Santee: It’s been talked about. It’s still part of the design goal, and whether or not it gets executed is another question, but it’s still part of the design goal that was stated early on. That made RFK special to people and whether or not that will make its way to the new building, only time will tell.

BizBall: There has been a considerable amount of attention paid to the funding component of the new Nationals ballpark. The term Value Engineering has been repeated often. Is there a point when the overall aesthetic of the design could be impacted through value engineering, and how have you been so effective in addressing the value engineering component?

Santee: Historically, once we know how much money is being spent purely on construction and that’s been established, we really depend on the construction manager to identify what’s appropriate for that market. Whether that’s structural frame or concrete or steel or mechanical or electrical systems, we really try to work in with the construction manager to make better decisions.

That process went through a lot of VE (Value Engineering), but frankly, a lot of projects go through it because the construction market is as fluid from a pricing standpoint as anything I’ve seen in my career.

Because there is a lot of construction going on, you try to bid the work in a certain marketplace from a competition standpoint, so you get a lot of quality bidders. We just had a hurricane down south that had an impact in construction costs. We’re at kind of a dynamic time as far as how you look at cost. Fortunately for us, a lot of those issues are being dealt with early on. During the VE process you’re basically taking to subcontractors and saying “here’s what we’ve got so what do you think the number is going to be” so you’re actually getting early pricing from them that allows you to make a somewhat informed decision. It’s fairly fluid, so what happens is that after the early information you get some additional information and you have to make some modifications. Every job these days has a fairly extensive VE process.

BizBall: The Nationals design breaks with nostalgic design that has been a large part of ballpark designs by HOK in the recent past. Was there much discussion as to whether to go this route, or was there an effort to have the urban design fit in with some of the other architecture in the Near SE area that is being developed?

Santee: I think the design that was shown yesterday (3/14/06) was really a fairly common design objective that was shown by the city and the sports commission, as well as, the planning commission. It was a fairly common position for what the design should be, and our job was to organize it in a way that gives it a rationale for its purpose and what it looks like.

From what I’ve seen so far the press clippings have been fairly complimentary and people have commented that it took a break, but I’m not certain that if you look at that area there aren’t some changes within four or five or six blocks where there are buildings that have historical value. When you look at DC it has its own history. It’s not like we need to re-create it within a ballpark.

BizBall: Was the placement of the parking structures toward centerfield a design concern in terms of the viewing aesthetics looking out of the ballpark?

Santee: Yes. As architects we thought over everything with those kinds of details. It’s a concern about how big the buildings are and what’s the view to the Capitol—can people see into the ballpark from that side of the city—so those are always concerns.

How they are going to be developed is another question, and those are future questions that I don’t know if they have answers to right now.

BizBall: How important is site selection to the overall astetics of the stadium design? Did that have any impacts to the Nationals design given the unique process that MLB and the District were under?

Santee: The one thing that's different about the DC job is that in most cases is that historically we do the site selection.

Site selection is one of the most crucial aspects of whether or not you create a great building. I think the site we have in Pittsburgh is incredible and immaculate. In DC, that process was an independent process. We were given a program and given a budget and given a site, and asked to design a building and that's where we are today.

BizBall: What type of designs do you feel we’ll see in the next 10 years? Is there the capacity for a radical departure from what we are now seeing?

Santee: I think it depends on the client and the design climate.

Some clients like the Marlins, we had an even more modern looking building than DC and with a roof, and that was because the owner of the team wanted a piece of sculpture.

It just depends on the client and how they see the branding of their franchise and the community and how that’s represented. So I think you’ll see more projects like this one. We’ve embraced the Nationals job and that’s important to us because it does allow us to spread our wings a little bit. We can design modern buildings and we do it all the time. It just happens to be that we have quite a few buildings that have red brick or limestone or something that looks like it has a more traditional feel to it. We can design modern buildings, so I think the Nationals project is an important project for us. It just changes how people perceive how the success of a different design might have on their franchise within their community.

BizBall: Finally, given the number of ballpark designs that HOK has, done as well as those in process, is there ever a worry that HOK might rest on its laurels?

Santee: That’s one of my personality flaws I guess! I want them to be unique and distinctive. Absolutely. It’s part of how you start the process. You have to look at the city first and then you look at the client and then you look at the site possibilities, and all those things kind of drive it. The fresh side of it is that we challenge ourselves to do bigger and better things. Because we’re not a factory; we’re trying to keep this as creative as we can.

Fortunately for us we’re an international company so we go overseas and look at international buildings and study the architecture as an idea to create more interesting things for our clients. I think it’s just the way we’re organized. People call us a corporation but we’re just a group of individuals that love doing what we do and we don’t want to repeat something that we did before. We want every project to be new and fresh because that’s what motivates us to continue.

Let me close on this...one of the things we actually do is listen to peoples' feedback about our facilities. We read the press and we understand that we have a lot of design goals, and we're trying to do all we can do to make every building special to those communities.

In some cases we get opportunities like the Marlins job, which is a very interesting piece of sculpture, and a lot of that depends on how the client is. We have a great enthusiasm to try new and different things.

We have design studio that is full of young architects that we hire from all over the country to come work here and incubate ideas. I think that some of that manifests itself in our buildings as time goes on.


The following interview was originally published on the SABR Business of Baseball website, and can be read here: SABR Business of Baseball Interviews Page

Interview conducted by Maury Brown on 3/15/06
Transcribed by Galen Antle

Edited by Maury Brown
Graphics and layout by Maury Brown

 
 
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