San Diego Padres Ballpark/Petco Park

San Diego, California
Antoine Predock Architect PC

Citation for Excellence

By Christopher Kieran

Home to the San Diego Padres since April 2004, Petco Park has as its mission to be more than a ballpark—to serve as a large-scale city planning project. For the first time in professional sports, a franchise was required to invest hundreds of millions in at-risk capital for the development of the neighborhood surrounding its publicly owned facility.

San Diego Padres Ballpark/Petco Park
Photo: © Timothy Hursley
Slide show captions: Henry Ng
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Near the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego, the Ballpark District occupies land that had been mostly vacant when the Padres project received approval in 1998. The city, which owns 70 percent of the park, stipulated the Padres and their private partners invest a minimum of $311 million in retail, residential, and commercial projects within 26 blocks of the stadium.

Looking to create an identity for the district, the Padres turned to Antoine Predock to design a bold structure and provide an anchor for continued development. Using the striking geometrical formations he is known for, Predock created a stadium with a strong presence. Two iconic towers incorporating special suites, viewing platforms, and field lighting make an impression on the San Diego skyline. Massive, stepped stone terraces reflect the color of the local soil and cliffs at Torrey Pines. Concessions and other programmatic content are pushed from under the grandstands to the perimeter, creating an unusual interstitial space, mediating interior and exterior, and bringing daylight and breezes into the concourse. The Outfield Park also helps draw the stadium out to the community by providing a public park extending one block to the north of the playing field, where fans can picnic under eucalyptus trees and watch the game.

In an area that saw little investment interest before 1998, property values have since increased 500 percent. Private developers have already invested $1.5 billion in the neighborhood. Predock’s innovative, community-driven design has helped create an economic engine for the eastern half of downtown San Diego.

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