The University of Phoenix Stadium is the site of Wrestlemania 26. It was designed by Peter Eisenman with the help of HOK Sport (now called Populous), Hunt Construction Group and Urban Earth Design. Eisenman has designed two large buildings in Columbus, the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts & Fine Arts Library on thee Ohio State University’s campus and the Convention Center in downtown so I am familiar with his work first hand. (You can find pictures of these buildings by clicking on Past Projects on the opening page of his site. I will provide pictures if I somehow find time during this crazy week.) I’m not the biggest fan of his work since he has a tendency to create a myriad of (sometimes asinine) reasons to justify his design instead of conforming to the urban fabric and creating a twist on it. His rational for this job was to make the building look like a barrel cactus. The designs are interesting in their end result even if I find his methods strange.
The vertical glass slots imitate the ribbing on the cactii while the metal panels represents the main darker green portions. The alternating shimmering metal panels are intended to reflect the desert light so that patrons from any level can view the horizon through the glass panels at any level. Viewing the surrounding beauty of any stadium has become a staple since the HOK designed Camden Yards. I’ll just hope they don’t try to pull this off when there isn’t any surrounding beauty. I think Eisenman accomplished his goal of making the stadium look like a barrel cactus so it’s well done. Stadiums aren’t suited to create a special visual design that would allow the design to place form over function like a house or even a museum. I mentioned context earlier and that was not needed in this design because it was built outside of town and has nothing historical to play off. The lack of building context is another reason to use an indigenouis plant as a pattern to create the design.
The permanent seating capacity is 63,400 and is expandable to 72,200 which is probably closer to what the capacity will be for Wrestlemania. They can usually pack the field more than most events because of the minimum of space necessary to accomodate a wrestling ring and the entrance ramp and walkway. I’ll be doing a review of their set after I see it so stay tuned. – Kevin
All facts and figures provided by www.universityofphoenixstadium.com.