The Marlins Park in Miami

Monday, 20 November 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Miami / South Florida, Sport
Reading Time:  14 minutes

© flickr.com - Roberto Coquis/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Roberto Coquis/cc-by-2.0

Marlins Park is a baseball park located in Miami. It is the current home of the Miami Marlins, the city’s Major League Baseball franchise. It is located on 17 acres of the former Miami Orange Bowl site in Little Havana, about 2 miles (3 km) west of Downtown. Construction was completed in March 2012, in time for the 2012 season. The stadium is designed in a neomodern form of baseball architecture. Marlins Park was also LEED certified as the greenest MLB park in 2012. The building is the sixth MLB stadium to have a retractable roof. With a seating capacity of 37,442, it is the third-smallest stadium in Major League Baseball by official capacity, and the smallest by actual capacity. The stadium’s public-funding plan led to a protracted lawsuit, largely contributed to the ouster of several local politicians, and triggered an SEC investigation. As revelations of the team’s finances and their handling of payroll (both before and after construction) seemed to contradict some of the premises on which the tax-funded-stadium deal were based, the ballpark controversy intensified. Despite questionable financing decisions by members of local government at the time, the financing of the project did not use General Fund taxes from local taxpayers and pulled from tourist funds specifically allocated for public-benefiting projects like sports facilities. The facility hosted a second-round pool of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, a first-round pool of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and hosted the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The park also hosts soccer matches, fundraising galas and other events during the winter. It also hosted the Miami Beach Bowl from 2014 through 2016.

Instead of framing new technology with nostalgic elements as in retro parks, Marlins Park emphasizes the future. Besides electronic mixed-media artwork, technology is also unmistakably used for commercial purposes. As a way to market to Latino fans, many digital menu boards on the concession stands continuously switch from English to Spanish and back. Also, there are no hand-operated advertisement signs; ads are all computerized. Santee explains:

It’s really just how technology is everywhere. You don’t see any static ad panels in this building. It’s all video-based, IPTV-based. It’s all connected. The technology is the blood of the building. It flows through every vein, every piece of building. What it means is that [stadium operators] could run a third-inning (concession) special and it would pop up… You could have the whole building with one sponsor for one moment, if you wanted to. Or you could do zones. It gives them maximum flexibility for however they want to present their partners as well as themselves.

As part of its forward-thinking design, the venue is an efficient, environmentally-friendly green building in its use of materials, waste, and operation. The selection of building materials included sealants, paint, and adhesives with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) to maximize good indoor-air quality. A white rubber membrane lining the roof reflects rays to reduce “heat-island effect.” The extensive glass facade allows in natural light during the day and reduces reliance on artificial light. The suites are built with replenishable bamboo paneling instead of hardwood. Most construction waste was hauled away to recycling centers during the building phase. Palm trees and other native plant species around the building encourage biodiversity. Levy Restaurants, which runs some of the kitchens, gets most of its fresh-food supply directly from local farms that are within a 100-mile radius of the stadium. Approximately 6 million gallons of water a year are saved with the use of 249 waterless urinals. An early aim of the new ballpark was to become the first retractable-roof ballpark to be Silver Certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). On May 25, 2012, Marlins Park surpassed that goal by officially becoming the first MLB stadium—and the first retractable-roof stadium in any sport—to achieve LEED Gold Certification, anointing the facility as the most sustainable ballpark in MLB. The LEED-NC (New Construction) rating system credited the stadium with 40 points toward certification, the highest total of any LEED-certified park in the majors—the retro-contemporary ballparks of AT&T Park, Target Field and Nationals Park are the only others to achieve LEED certification. Although they were publicly seeking silver, Loria had privately challenged engineers to shoot for the higher gold certification. The most difficult aspect of achieving gold, though—and one the design team had doubt it would be able to accomplish—was concerning the energy required to operate the retractable roof. Populous thought renewable energy would be a part of the sustainability equation but the park opened without solar panels. However, engineers optimized lighting, mechanical controls, and electrical aspects enough to achieve a 22.4% reduction in energy usage, which exceeded the 14% required for certification. The U.S. Green Building Council noted an innovation which earned the facility three credits: Throughout areas of the stadium, including the clubhouses, the floor is made of a synthetic pouring made from recycled Nike shoes. The Council presented Loria with a plaque to signify the entire gold-certification achievement.

© flickr.com - Roberto Coquis/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Alberto Cabello/cc-by-2.0 © Don Ramey Logan/cc-by-4.0. © Mbenzdabest
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© flickr.com - Alberto Cabello/cc-by-2.0
The Marlins’ front office commissioned several works of art and other notable features around the stadium.

  • Retractable roof and outfield glass panels: The retractable roof consists of 8,300 tons of steel. The Marlins covered it with a white membrane because “we want to make sure we’re not absorbing heat in the roof”, said Claude Delorme, the Marlins executive vice president/ballpark development. Separate retractable glass panels offer uninterrupted views of the downtown Miami skyline, and also allow in a natural breeze when they are open. The six panels are a combined 240 feet long and 60 feet high. An air-conditioning system will cool the average temperature to 75 °F (24 °C) with the roof and glass panels closed. The Marlins expect for the roof to be closed for about 70 of the 81 home games and likely to remain open on some dry nights in April, when the weather is not too hot. It takes approximately 14½ minutes to open the roof, and 7–8 minutes to open the transparent outfield panels.
  • Home run feature: Center field has a home run feature akin to Citi Field‘s Home Run Apple but different in design and feel. The piece, designed by Red Grooms, is located behind the left center field wall, and visible during a game. It is between 65 and 75 feet (20 and 23 m) tall, with bright pink, blue, aqua, and orange colors along with many moving parts. The art feature rises from a pool of Grooms-designed water and is dotted with clouds, flamingos, seagulls and palm trees. Marlins jump and laser lights shine for roughly 30 seconds. The home run feature was budgeted at $2.5 million with funding provided by the county’s Art in Public Places department. The sculpture sparked heated conversation among Miami-Dade taxpayers well before the park opened and has since continued. The Miami Herald reported that many fans thought it was “tacky” or “ugly”, while others felt it captured the “essence of Miami”. Marlins players wondered if the upcoming sculpture could cause a distraction to left-handed batters. However, MLB officials have approved the batter’s eye (after a separate area in dead center was repainted from fluorescent green to black) and, so far, the sculpture has not been an issue for hitters. The Herald held an unofficial contest to name the sculpture and selected the “Marlinator” as the winning submission from their readers.
  • Outfield walls: The distance from home plate is specified on the outfield walls in meters in addition to feet, the only such major league ballpark outside of Canada.
  • Aquatic home plate backstop: Dual bulletproof aquariums serve as a home-plate backstop. They were built on each side of home plate and are positioned to prevent any disruption to players on the field. The aquarium to the right of home plate (when looking from the pitcher’s mound) measures 34 feet (10 m) long and 36 inches (91 cm) high and holds over 600 US gallons (2,300 L) of seawater, while the aquarium to the left is 24 feet (7.3 m) in length and holds 450 US gallons (1,700 L) of water. Each aquarium was constructed using a durable fiberglass structure; while crystal-clear acrylic panels 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick are used for the viewing windows that run the entire length of the aquariums. To safeguard the exhibits from impacts, Lexan was installed in front and in back of the acrylic panels to protect the aquariums from foul balls, errant pitches or any other unexpected contact.
  • Clevelander Bar and swimming pool: The Clevelander is a South Beach-themed nightclub that takes its name from a 100-year-old Miami institution. It holds approximately 240 guests and offers a variety of food selections, entertainment (dancers, DJs and body painting), field-level seating, and a swimming pool. The new poolside bar and grill is available on gamedays for private events for by groups, on a per-game basis.
  • Bobblehead museum: A display showcases hundreds of bobblehead dolls from all over baseball, jiggling in unison.
  • Commemorative marker: Daniel Arsham and Snarkitecture were commissioned to design a work to commemorate the former Miami Orange Bowl, which was demolished to make way for the new stadium. The piece uses the letters from the original “Miami Orange Bowl” sign as the basis for the 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) orange concrete letters rearranged across the east plaza so that they form new words as visitors move around them. They spell out both “ORANGE BOWL” and “GAME WON”, for example.
  • Parking complex and trolley service: The stadium is surrounded by four main parking garages along with six other lots, with a combined capacity of about 5,600 vehicles. The garages extend the contemporary design of the park with walls of pastel, Miami-Deco tiles. Garages are conveniently color-coded with pennant banners to match their corresponding color quadrants of the stadium: blue for home plate, yellow for first base, red for third base, and green for center field. In addition to the main commemorative marker, three mosaic panels from the old Orange Bowl hang on the facade of the southwestern garage, and a few of the old bowl’s plastic seats punctuate a small plaza in front of the parking structure, as a nod to the past. As final public art project, large-scale bit-map paintings of children peering through a ballpark chain-link fence are being installed on the garages. Parking tickets are pre-purchased like seating tickets, raising the probability that parking spaces could be sold out even before game day. Due to the limited public transportation at Marlins Park, free trolleys shuttle fans to and from the downtown Miami civic center or a nearby train station on game days only.
  • Entrance/West Plaza paving: Pathways paved on the west entrance plaza of the stadium are created by Venezuelan-born and Parisian-based kinetic-op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. It’s entitled Chromatic Induction in a Double Frequency and uses 1-inch tiles to form a rhythmic pattern that perceptibly changes for visitors as they walk on it and at times almost seems to vibrate.
  • Column illumination: Daniel Arsham and Snarkitecture were also selected for the lighting of the four super columns which support the retractable roof. The lighting is designed to give the illusion of the columns being concealed and revealed through programmable LEDs that fade up and down the columns in subtly shifting patterns, evoking the rhythm of a human breath.
  • Modern and contemporary artist replicas: A large, ceramic-tile reproduction of a Joan Miró mural (1930s) is on a promenade wall behind home plate. A reprint of pop culture artist Roy Lichtenstein‘s painting of “The Manager” (1962) is displayed near the main concourse. A nearly 40-foot reprint of Kenny Scharf‘s mixed media work “Play Ball!” (2011) is in a corner behind the team store.
  • Sports & The Arts graphics: In addition to other artwork, California-based consultant “Sports & The Arts” was retained to curate the photography and wall and column graphics components. Nearly 500 pieces of photography and over 15,000 square feet of wall and column treatments were planned.

Read more on Marlins Park Information and Wikipedia Marlins Park (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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