There hasn't been much chatter about the stadium project for D.C. United recently, since the newest stadium renderings came out about a month ago. With the team still in the playoffs, much of the talk surrounding the team has been about how the Black-and-Red can find a way past the New York Red Bulls this weekend in the MLS playoffs.
But Planet Futbol, of Sports Illustrated, posted an article today, in which they interviewed Bruce Miller, who is an architect and designer for Populous. In addition to being the firm in charge of United's new stadium, Populous is also tasked with the new stadium for Orlando City SC, as well as Minnesota United.
The article itself doesn't contain too many specifics in terms of the project at Buzzard Point. With the project set to be complete to open the 2018 season, details of the final design are still unknown to the public. Instead, Miller talks plenty of the new Orlando City stadium, in addition to projects recently completed in MLS, which might just give us an insight in to what Populous is planning for United.
Canopies are actually one of the biggest talking points in this article. For those who might not remember, in the most recent stadium renderings for United's stadium, a full canopy was absent from the stadium, angering a lot of folks. But Miller says that a canopy eats into the cost of the stadium, usually between 8-15% of the total cost.
In terms of United's commitment to a $150 million stadium, that would be between $12 million and $22 million. A canopy around all four sides of the stadium would likely trend towards that higher number.
The canopies have more uses than just providing cover for the fans underneath them. In addition to holding in sound, the canopies can be a platform for better lighting and sound as well as technology receivers, such as wireless routers.
Another interesting point is the safe standing section that is being included in Orlando's stadium. Called "The Wall", the section for supporters behind one of the goals, will be all safe standing, with railings to provide the safety aspect to standing.
Miller talks about the transition between earlier MLS soccer specific stadiums, and what Populous is now trying to achieve with their new projects. Earlier MLS stadiums such as MAPFRE Stadium for Columbus Crew SC, had bare bones accommodations. But newer projects, such as Sporting Park and Avaya Stadium for Sporting KC and the San Jose Earthquakes, respectively, are providing more fan friendly experiences. Which just might give us a taste of what to expect come 2018.
Miller also highlights the entire game day experience as being a major component of the design of stadiums. "The experience doesn't start at game time, it starts when people leave work, meet their friends at a pub or restaurant, kick a soccer ball, play music and then march to the match to their seats," Miller said to Planet Futbol. Currently, at RFK Stadium, that isn't too relevant, with Lot 8 providing most of the pre-game entertainment. But with the loss of parking lots around the new stadium, Miller's vision will surely play in to the new experience at Buzzard Point.
What do you think about what Miller had to talk about? Excited to see what the final designs of the stadium will be? Interested in safe standing sections for supporters behind the goal?