Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

The Post's Dan Steinberg blogged today about the latest planned "public art" at Nationals Park, first reported by WBJ last month, and linked to two renderings of the 30 stainless steel orbs lit by LEDs that will be installed on the infamous garages by the spring of next year.
On his "In Progress" page, sculptor Thomas Sayre notes how 70 percent of ballpark-goers arrive from the north side of the stadium, and that the garage facades that greet visitors are "large, powerful, and do little themselves to welcome fans to the magical experience of a baseball game."
He explains the concept behind his work thusly: "Inspired by the primary action of the game of baseball itself - the pitch followed by the hit - this public art project consists of a succession of polished stainless spheres derived from a spinning baseball which depicts physics of how a 90-mile per hour pitch is able to curve in such extraordinary ways. Eighteen stainless steel "baseballs" follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast ball pitch. The western garage facade will show the more straight and higher-angled trajectory of the same ball as it is hit by the batter and is depicted with twelve "baseballs". The pitch comes at you from the left and sails off from you to the right as you enter."
UPDATE: After hearing a comment or two about the garages themselves, I thought a little bit of history might be in order. I just posted this in the comments:
If you weren't around during the haggling over the construction of the stadium in 2006, you missed all of the angst about the garages. MLB mandated 925 1225 on-site parking spaces. They also mandated a stadium ready by Opening Day 2008. And the city mandated a spending cap for construction. Those three requirements left the city little choice but to construct the garages in their current location, above ground.
I invite readers to plow through my *many* posts from back in the day, to learn of such things as the proposed Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and other ideas that fell by the wayside because of political and financial reality.
This doesn't preclude the eventual demolition of the garages and putting them underground, but I haven't heard that spoken of much since 2008, when most people saw the garages, sighed, and began just averting their eyes.
UPDATE II: A reader passed this link along--if you click on Projects, then Pitch Terrain, you'll see what's billed as a "finalist proposal" for the competition for the Nats garage art. This design, by Rob Ley, was an "undulating lighted facade system," using aluminum screens to simulate the flow of the ball between pitcher and batter.
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Michael says: (8/3/10 6:52 PM)
Of course, if the Lerners had put the garages below grade, and developed the property above ground into something useful and resident-friendly, we wouldn't have to "hide" the hideous monstrosities.


JD says: (8/3/10 6:58 PM)
Having this discussion on Twitter, and was just coming back here to post an update.

If you weren't around during the haggling over the construction of the stadium in 2006, you missed all of the angst about the garages. MLB mandated 925 on-site parking spaces. They also mandated a stadium ready by Opening Day 2008. And the city mandated a spending cap for construction. Those three requirements left the city little choice but to construct the garages in their current location, aboveground.

I invite readers to plow through my *many* posts from back in the day, to learn of such things as the proposed Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and other ideas that fell by the wayside because of to political and financial reality:

link

This doesn't preclude the eventual demolition of the garages and putting them underground, but I haven't heard that spoken of much since 2008, when most people saw the garages, sighed, and began just averting their eyes.


goober says: (8/4/10 8:03 AM)
The Lerners should be ashamed. They have more than enough money to sink those garages. The garages ruin the views from outside and inside the stadium. I wish they would sell the team so we could have real owners.


DMCj says: (8/4/10 9:14 AM)
I was in Minneapolis this weekend and caught a game at Target Field ... they have wrapped their (apparently mandatory) on-site parking garage in a wind sculpture that is beautiful - even more so at night, I'm told ... "It's also here that you'll find The Wave, the 285-foot-long wind sculpture, created by Ned Kahn, rumored to be the largest piece of public art in the state. Like a towering curtain of chain mail, The Wave links thousands of baseball card-sized metallic panels in a shimmering veil that covers the entire expanse of the B parking ramp."


cass says: (8/4/10 10:19 AM)
Idea sounds interest and anything that even partially hides the garages is a good thing, so I say the sooner these go up, the better.

I wonder if we can convince the city that adding bouncy seats could be an art project honoring the history of sports stadiums in DC? ;-)


Michael says: (8/4/10 11:06 AM)
As always, thanks for your knowledge and history about parking. But, I still think it's fair, from the quotes and articles, to blame the Lerners for the above ground parking. They were strong advocates and supporters for the parking garages, and fear of being sued compelled the Council to vote for the zoning adjustment to the Waterfront plan.

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