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City Baseball Magic is a polemic on behalf of the traditional urban baseball park, and an exercise in "pragmatic idealism." Todays new "retro" baseball stadiums look wonderful, but they are outrageously expensive and do not provide the intimacy nor foster the sense of community that was possible with the classic neighborhood ballparks (built in the early 1900's) because they are conceived as suburban buildings. They are a drain on taxpayers, they yield seating arrangements that are worse for the average fan in the upper deck, they result in huge ticket price increases, and they tend to destroy the physical and spatial fabric of cities. But most of these liabilities can be ameliorated by once again understanding the baseball park as an urban building subject to the physical constraints of urban networks of streets and blocks. To demonstrate this thesis, Bess offers the wonderfully conceived Armour Field plan, a proposal for neighborhood design and a new ballpark that was originally presented in the late 1980's as an alternative for the new stadium that the Chicago White Sox were determined to have built to replace the venerable old Comiskey Park on Chicago's south side. Still relevant today, the proposed ballpark addresses social, cultural, and economic issues, as well as issues of baseball and urban aesthetics; and demonstrates the superiority of the traditional urban baseball park over the modern stadium in ways both tangible and intangible. Includes 46 illustrations and photos.
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Philip Bess is a professor of architecture at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and the principal of Thursday Architects in Chicago. Since 1981 he has lived (with his wife and three children) two miles from Wrigley Field, where he watches about fifteen games per year from the upper deck. He has written several articles on baseball and architecture for Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Baseball Review.Review:
"Bess approaches baseball park design from the perspective of a committed urbanist and baseball fan. . . . He argues convincingly that the issues that surround stadium design are important to everyone, and are the same issues that confront cities as a whole: suburbanization, the dominance of the automobile, neglect of central cities and local neighborhoods, and architectural standardization." -- Kevin Fry, AIA Memo
"This brief and fascinatingly illustrated polemic urges other cities and baseball clubs planning stadiums to look at the alternative of the urban baseball park as a means to building better stadiums, promoting (mixed-use) economic development, and creating one-of-a-kind urban environments." -- Libby Howland, Urban Land
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Book Description Knothole Pr, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110967398606