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Friday, October 20, 2006

The Brick House

Up until now, I've been sort of on the fence about the proposed stadium renovations for The Big House. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I think there are pros and cons to it with me of the slight opinion that the "pros" won out.

Not anymore.

As a season ticket holder, I got an email today with diagrams of what the new stadium will look like. Put it this way, instead of "The Big House" they might as well change the nickname to "The Brick House."

Just seems like it's lost all it's character.


Granted, the new design will probably make it "louder" for those who say it's the "shape of the stadium" that usually gives Michigan one of the least valuable home field advantages in major college football. But, as much as that tantalizes me, I just don't think -- at least from these drawings -- that it keeps enough of the "essence" of what Michigan fans (and college football fans around America) have grown to love about the "hole that Yost dug" way back in the 1920s.

When Ohio State upgraded The 'Shoe a few years back, the end result was an improved stadium (those old bleacher in the open end where they stuck Michigan fans sucked ass!) that, make no doubt about it, is still The 'Shoe. It didn't lose that what made it unique.

Unfortunately, upon first blush, this new-fangled Michigan Stadium appears to jetison just that. The beauty of that wonderful place at the corner of Stadium and Main was a structure that, upon first approaching, didn't seem that impressive because it wasn't that "big" from the outside. A visitor might think, "This place holds 110,000?"

Yet, upon entering through one of the tunnels and seeing Yost's vision unfurl in front of you for the first time was truly something to behold.

My fear is that this new design cancels out that most special of elements.



43 comments:

Robert said...

Really? I think it looks incredible. Waaaaaaayyy better than I was expecting. Looks like it'll be an imposing edifice with a classic look.

zinzarin said...

I don't like it! It kills the appearance of the outside of the Big House. I much prefer the "Big House" plan mentioned here. It's even being promoted by Yost's grandson! (Didn't know you were that old, Yost!)

Anonymous said...

i just really want the 2nd tier to be completely surrounding the stadium rather than a high wall on the E and W sides. a ring of boxes would lookbetter

Anonymous said...

I'm with Robert, I think those designs are great. Remniscent of old Soldier Field. (Not to mention it will match the brick fence currently surrounding the stadium)

And Yost, from the outside it still won't look like it holds 110,000. But it also won't look like a crappy high school field either.

Jeremy said...

I like it. It's classy and classic (that M inset into the fence is very 1940s). Renovations are going to be done; this matches the architectural style of many many other buildings around campus and I think it looks fantastic.

Richard Cranium said...

I detect a new theme song for the new stadium.
She's a Brick House,
she's mighty mighty,
lettin it all hang out.
Oh yea! That she could be that whore Ann Arbor. It would fit perfectly.

MGOBLUE94 said...

I love it! Now add on the 2nd deck to the North and South end! We will be seating 150,000+ for a game!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Yost. I have supported the idea of renovations in the past, but these designs don't do it for me.

In the stadium FAQs, they say "We will make certain that the new structures are designed in a manner that respects the tradition and character of the stadium."

Someone please tell me how two giant walls that do not blend with the current stadium "respects the ...character of the stadium"

Anonymous said...

I agree with Yost. I wish I had pictures of the newly-finished remodelling of Kinnick Stadium over here in Iowa City. Beautiful new brickwork, great "grand-entrance" look behind the south end zone, and nothing like the glass walkways in the Big House plans.

jahowie said...

I'm almost afraid to say it, but I like it. Yost's vision was grand and it served it's time. Renovations are needed for the greatest stadium in the country to be more modern and fan friendly yet keeping it in the old style with the brick is right on!! Go Blue!!

CrimeNotes said...

Looks like a cross between a shopping mall and some shitty set design from "Gladiator."

CrimeNotes said...

Also, per quotes in the Daily, brick is apparently an "iconic" material.

"Many, many of the e-mails we received when we asked for input on our website said 'You've gotta make it brick,' " Martin said. "Brick is a common, long-lasting, traditional material. Michigan Stadium is iconic to us all, so we had to use iconic materials."

This is so half-assed.

Anonymous said...

Yost, get over it! There is nothing, repeat nothing to wax poetically about the current stadium design. It is a freaking hole in ground with high school bleachers and cheesy metal siding around the perimeter. The press box is an embarassment from the '50s school of "modern" design. All of this romantic crap about the "experience" inside the stadium is a bunch of hoey. It's about the product on the field. And if you want to maintain THAT tradition, you better bring your facilities up to the stadards of your competitors and get on with it!

jg6544 said...

Texas-ex here. The Big House is the only stadium in the country where I want to see a game in person one of these days.

harry hasselhoff said...

I agree with Anon 7:00 AM - while I love what the Big House stands for, take the Michigan football away from it and its a big hole in the ground with lame looking corrugated-metal siding and a pressbox that appears to be supported by nothing other than force of habit.

The new plans are about as good as I could've expected. I don't know what the rest of you were expecting, but would you be happy if Calatrava or Gehry designed some avant garde swooping, turning metal design for Michigan Stadium? In a liberal town like A2, there's nothing more (rightfully) conservative than the tradition of Michigan Football, and the stadium ought to reflect that - and in this design, it does.

Scott said...

The decision to go with brick is not "half-assed." Most of Michigan's better looking buildings were designed by Albert Kahn and they're brick (Grad Library, Hill Auditorium.) The Athletic building have tried to mimic this (Yost Ice Arena, IM Building.) If you need more convincing, check out the Michigan Stadium looked like when it opened in 1927.

http://bentley.umich.edu/stadium/stadtext/scrap14a.htm

CrimeNotes said...

Yeah, I wasn't doubting the existence of brick on Michigan's campus, or its appropriateness as a building material. That would make no sense. I just thought it was laughable that people are patting themselves on the back for using bricks, as though somehow annexing this shopping mall to Michigan Stadium keeps with tradition because said shopping mall is made of bricks.

Anonymous said...

i agree with anon 0700. we wax poetic about the classic virtues of bowl design because it numbs the pain of ohio stadium totally kicking our ass. we play football in the middle of a freakin' dish garnished with aluminum siding. the new designs at least tie the structure in with the rest of the athletic campus. yost fieldhouse = classic. im building = classic. new baseball stadium = modern classic. current michigan stadium = tacky. the best parts of the current stadium is the peripheral brickwork and the block M scoreboards.

of course, the best upgrade would be dig a deeper whole such that the stadium actually retains sound. but that's never going to happen.

Anonymous said...

it's not the brick that bothers me, it's those huge staircases on either side of the arches and columns. Taller, all glass. They don't fit with the new brick or the old stadium.
If they could do something better with the staircases, I think it would look a lot better.

OCBlue said...

Those bookend glass straircases blow.

Why the glass? To protect the fans from the elements?

The brick on the renovations at Notre Dame look good, traditonal and keep the appearance of a bowl.

I think ND stadium was originally a copy of Michigan Stadium.

Anonymous said...

The scale is fantastic. Keep in mind the brick arch theme will wrap around the end zones in some year in the future when they add the second level to the end zones. Totally circling the stadium it will look like nothing else and will be simply awesome! Much better than the stupid and chep looking blue metal that you see now.

Anonymous said...

I love it! I remember my first trip to michigan in '85. I remember that I was'nt that impressed with the outside of the stadium. Once I went inside I was amaized at the size of our big house. The renovations are needed not just for the ammenities but also for the impact it will have on recruiting. No more "BIG QUIET HOUSE"

Papa Steve said...

Sorry man, I have to say I love the new design. I can't see much value in retaingin the feel of a giant aluminum dish/bowl sunk into a hill. At least if our fans can't be imposing inside, then let the outside be a llittle bit so.

I hope they add some kind of grandiose entrance/gateway at the ends at some point. It would be a very cool spectacle indeed.

Anonymous said...

First off, this is a great site.

As a 50 plus year Gator fan, I have watched the swamp evolve to a unique venue with a lot of quirks. This is what college stadiums are all about.
I think this will give the "Big House" a new look and something other than the oval look. Hope to get there for a game someday.

1955 Gator

The King said...

I'm for it. Our stadium currently has no architectural identity whatsoever. This design has a certain uniqueness to it that marries Yost's original vision to a "classic" new look that, in 100 years, will be instantly recognizable and special.

Anonymous said...

I thought you already renovated. I read about it here http://www.theonion.com/content/node/52042

Anonymous said...

Oh god - it's the stadium equivalent of a McMansion.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone not like it? The current outside of the stadium is just the underside of bleachers. The new design will still only be about 4 stories tall and you'll still get the sense of awe when walking through a gate as 110,000 seats open beneath you.

doug '88 said...

Hmmm. I like brick, I agree that there is nothing interesting at all about the current design, yet I can't say that I like the new design either. The new part looks like a separate building attached to the new one. So...now we can see the bottom of the bleachers through the arches....I think it would be better if the part you see through the arches looked like the same building.

James said...

I love the new design. Compare it with this current view of the east side of the stadium:

http://vmedia.rivals.com/uploads/883/F176379.JPG

As you can see that brickwork is *already* featured in the stadium. And I'm sorry, but blue aluminum siding hardly screams "tradition" to me. Quite frankly, I think the stadium is currently quite ugly from the outside. The new proposal will dignify it a great deal.

Zippy said...

Barf. The old girl does need a facelift, and the decision is long past the point where material changes or alternative plans have any actual hope of succeeding.

TPTB sure as hell better not sacrifice M's attendance superiority for this thing.

It could be worse (see Soldier Field), and the design is better conceived than the halo.

They should keep the capacity at >=107,501 exclusive of the fat f***s in the Bourgeoisie shrines, er, "luxury" boxes. Those Bushwood folks are dead to me.

Ali Haji-Sheikh said...

Yost, as much as I agree with you on the experience you have when you walk into the bowl for the first time after seeing only a two-story exterior, that shock only happens once. After that, Michigan Stadium (except for the brick parts on the East side) looks terrible from the outside. The only thing I would get rid of are the cheesy, weak looking, skinny wrought-iron "M"s on the fences. Either use the solid block M (not the one with the "Michigan" horizontal text box in it) or use the University seal like on the gates down to the field inside the Stadium.

PeckHorn78 said...

The blue aluminum siding is the result of the stadium outgrowing its original brickwork. The prelim designs look very good to me- the structure needs to be put back in scale again, and hopefully it will do something to make the interior of the stadium more "alive" sonically. Either way, it's long overdue, and at least it is not an ugly halo. You can put me in the 1+ column.

Q1Go said...

I like the brick - I don't know how many of you have come into the stadium through the tunnel and on to the field, but the first thing you see after grass is the beautiful brick circle around the perimeter of the field. Now the outside of the stadium will incorporate that element as well.

Scarlet & Gray Matters said...

Reminds me of a modern take on Illinois' Memorial Stadium... http://www.athletics.uiuc.edu/renaissance/gallery/images/w_ext_elevation.gif

RoyGBlue UM '97 said...

Gotta say, big thumbs up, I really like the plan.

Anonymous said...

I think it looks great... better than the yellow ring around the top from the Martin daze.

My wife is from the East and when we went to our first game together, she knew Michigan was the biggest stadium out there... unitl we walked up to it... she said, "that's it???"

Perhaps the brick and will make it look a little more imposing.

Go Blue!

MonkeyWrench32 said...

That is freakin' amazing! I totally love it!

Ungar Kelt said...

Real Estate 101 - Bricks = good.

I think it looks great, an imposing feel to it. I also like Ford Field, and the classic look that bricks have provided that stadium

Anonymous said...

As an avid reader of this site and someone who happens to hold a degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan, I must say that I think the proposed design is very good. It is most reminiscent of the IM Building next to Ferry Field, our Wolverines first home. I agree the stair towers need a little tweaking, but overall I'm thrilled with the look. Yost, your affinity for the stadium's current look is way off base It looks like dump and is embarrassing. Are you one of those guys that has a beat up rusty Nova with a stump-pulling 454 under the hood? Personally, I don't care for sleepers. I want our stadium to be an awe-inspring site the moment you see it.

Yost said...

Leave my Nova out of it.

Anonymous said...

*LOL*
Keep up the good work, Michigan brother.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that nobody else expressed their concern that the architectural firm that is designing our stadium also designed none other than... Ohio State's stadium

http://www.hntb.com/portfolio.jsp?co=2