10 Most Amazing Stadiums That Were Never Built

Eric NewmanCorrespondent IIISeptember 28, 2011

10 Most Amazing Stadiums That Were Never Built

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    Green, glitzy, towering, domed jewels of sports-venue architecture—they're out there, folks. Er, on paper, at least.

    These stadium proposals once had fans slobbering like Pavlovian hounds. But other—often far lamer—designs won out, or politics and pragmatism reared their heads and put a stop on construction of these beauties.

    So strap on your double-beer-can helmet, tuck your cushion under your tush and have a virtual seat in these stadiums that never were.

Frank Gehry's Nets Arena

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    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Team: Brooklyn Nets

    The soon-to-be-formerly-of-New-Jersey Nets basketball team is getting a new stadium along with a name change.

    But it isn't the stadium we all hoped for: The Frank Gehry one.

    For those not in the know, Gehry is the Michael Jordan of modern architecture. He designed the amazing Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, to name a couple of his masterpieces.

    According to a New York Times article, his design embedded the Nets arena "in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass." Pretty cool look. Sadly, the replacement design—Barclay's Center—is of the generic airplane hangar ilk.

Pirates Stadium

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    Location: Pittsburgh, PA

    Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

    With it's classic design and riverfront location, PNC Park in Pittsburgh is truly one of the most impressive stadiums in MLB.

    "Best stadium, worst team," is a common description of the Pirates franchise, but the current stadium wasn't the only ambitious design for Pirates baseball.

    Back in the 1950s, a proposal was put forth to build a 70,000-person capacity stadium that spanned the Monongahela River. That's right, spanned it.

    The design was truly grandiose and included a 100-lane bowling alley, a hotel, gardens and a gargantuan covered boat dock beneath the stadium. How cool would it be to sail under the stadium, dock, tailgate with a Hibachi on your bow, then go up and watch the Pirates?

    But here is the real genius in the stadium-that-wasn't: the price tag was reasonable because there was no land acquisition. Think about it.

The New Fenway

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    Location: Boston, MA

    Team: Boston Red Sox

    This was a dead project from the start.

    Bostonians would sooner tear down Paul Revere's house than Fenway. But one must admit there is some allure in a bigger, more modern ball park in Boston. After all, Fenway is about to become a centenarian.

    The idea was to keep the same design and intimate feel, but increase seating capacity by 10,000 and—this is key—more than double the number of restrooms. Also, the new structure would have a Hall of Fame, a Red Sox museum and a children's educational center. 

Los Angeles Football Stadium

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    Location: City of Industry, CA

    Team: Not Determined

    Ed Roski's City of Industry sports wonderland.

    The complex would include a shopping center, movie theater, concert hall, spa, sand volleyball court, BMX bike course, wave pool and even a gondola ride with aerial views of it all.

    The stadium itself, built into the side of a hill, would have seating for 75,000, a beer garden, decked out suites and super-secret entrances for the Hollywood A-listers.

    Just one problem: Still no team. The San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings all seem adamant about avoiding the city. 

Farmers Field

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    Location: Los Angeles, CA

    Team: Not Determined

    Just like studios often come out with the same movie at the same time (No Strings Attached vs. Friends With Benefits, Antz vs. Bug's Life, Braveheart vs. Rob Roy, Deep Impact vs. Armageddon, etc.), La La land has competing projects.

    The second is Farmers Field. The exact design and location of this would-be 68,000-seater are somewhat shrouded in mystery. But from the pics on the official website, the proposed stadium looks somewhat Millennium Falcon-esque.

    A perfect complement to the flying saucer that is the Staples Center. The fleet will be complete once Dodger Stadium is remodeled to resemble The USS Enterprise.

Metrodome Next

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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Team: Minnesota Vikings

    It's looking like this Viking palace will never see the light of day and it's a shame because that's exactly the opposite of what the stadium would do for fans: Let them see the light of day.

    You see, plans for Metrodome Next include a transparent retractable panel roof and a glass wall at the north-facing end zone—plenty of sunlight for one and all. But it's likely Vikings fans will get sunlight all the time anyway... when the team moves to Los Angeles (kidding Vikings fans, kidding).

West Side Stadium

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    Location: New York, NY

    Team: New York Jets

    Oh the shame in having to share a stadium. And in Jersey, no less. But one can't say the Jets didn't try to find a place of their own—on their home turf.

    Manhattan's never-to-be Westside Stadium was a grand concept. With surrounding landscaped parkways, shops, cafes and museums, it would have been a pleasant spot on the bustling island. And if New York won the bid, the stadium would have hosted the 2012 Olympics.

    The stadium was to have a retractable roof and a changeable floor plan to accommodate other events.

    Alas, taxpayers didn't want to flip the bill, and locals didn't want more congestion. The plan died. No one experienced more schadenfreude than the Yankees, who have been lusting after that west side real estate for decades.

Iraqi National Stadium

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    Location: Baghdad, Iraq

    Team: Various

    After all the locals have been through, they deserve some coddling. And coddling they would get if this stadium were ever built.

    This 100,000-person capacity arena would utilize a telescopic seating design, giving spectators top-notch views of the field. The plan also calls for photovoltaic technology to generate solar power.

Offshore Stadium

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    Location: Various

    Team: Multiple Olympic Teams, FIFA Teams

    Why should bidding countries work so hard to dazzle the IOC or FIFA with stadium designs?

    Instead let them focus their resources on security, accommodations and dazzling opening/closing ceremonies.

    But where will the games be played, you ask? Only in the coolest stadium on the seven seas. Literally. It's the ultimate in recycle and reuse.

    You dock this stadium next to the hosting city, lease it for a few years, then "ship" it off to the next site.  A German firm came up with the concept with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in mind.


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    Location: The Moon

    Team: Multiple Lunar Olympic Teams

    Yes, that is the Earth you see there in the background. Welcome to the Stadium for International Lunar Olympics (S.I.L.O.)

    Two fifth-year architecture students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, came up with this design for a contest. And it's not just a pretty picture; this stadium is eerily well thought out.

    Energy comes from solar-assisted fuel cells. Carbon dioxide exhaled by the 100,000+ spectators is channeled into greenhouses. The stadium would be nestled into a crater and the playing field itself could be reconfigured for various (low-gravity) sports.