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BIG Architects Designs Armadillo-Like Ballpark for Athletics in Las Vegas

Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, USA / BIG Architects

Bjarke Ingels Group

Danish architecture firm BIG has created a baseball stadium in Las Vegas featuring a massive metal shell and what is claimed to be the “largest cable-net glass wall in the world”. Situated on the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the stadium was a collaboration between BIG and engineering company HNTB for the Major League Baseball team the Athletics (The As), who are relocating from Oakland, California after the 2024 season.

Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, USA / BIG Architects

The stadium will have seating for 33,000 spectators under its covered dome. The dome will be covered in shiny metal and consist of five interconnected forms, with a glass wall hanging from one end that is said to be the “largest cable-net glass wall in the world” once finished.

The design of the dome’s shell was inspired by baseball pendants and the armadillo, a native desert animal of the American Southwest. Bjarke Ingels, the founder of BIG, mentioned that the shape of the stadium also takes into account the environmental conditions of the desert city, with the metal exterior blocking direct sunlight while the glass wall allows light to filter in, offering views of the Strip.

Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, USA / BIG Architects

Ingels explained that the design of the new Vegas home for the A’s was carefully crafted to align with the city’s unique culture and climate. The ballpark features five pennant arches that not only provide shade from the scorching Nevada sun but also allow soft daylight to filter in from the north. Furthermore, a massive window offers a stunning view of The Strip and the iconic New York New York hotel skyline. By strategically blocking direct sunlight and welcoming natural light, the field is bathed in a gentle glow.

Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, USA / BIG Architects

The resulting architecture resembles a spherical armadillo, influenced by the local climate, and serves as a welcoming invitation for the vibrant life of The Strip to flow in and explore. This ‘armadillo’ design is intended for passive shading and natural light, serving as an architectural response to the Nevada climate and creating a new iconic symbol in Vegas.

The stadium is scheduled for completion in spring 2028 and marks BIG’s second project for the team, following a previous proposal for a stadium in Oakland. The initial design featured a grass-topped stadium at Oakland’s harbourside Howard Terminal in 2018, which was later updated in 2019 to a “more circular shape.”

Image courtesy of Negativ