Architectural Feature: Isotopes Park

2018 Architecture + Community Award Winner
For newer buildings or sites completed within the last 50 years
that have made our community stronger.

Isotopes Park, Albuquerque (BaseballPilgrimages.com, photo by Gabe Scheinbaum)

The city of Albuquerque is fortunate to have a first-class and modern minor league baseball stadium – Isotopes Park. The capacity of over 13,000 is fitting for a Triple-A team. The Isotopes are currently a farm-team of the Colorado Rockies based in Denver.

The stadium opened in 2003 on the site of an earlier baseball stadium that was aging and falling into disrepair. The city’s construction of the new stadium was endorsed by a public vote authorizing the $25 million cost of construction. The “Lab”, a local nickname for the park, was selected for the 2007 Triple-A All-star game and the 2009 Triple-A championship game.

A review of the stadium published on-line by Baseballparks.com at http://www.baseballparks.com/indepth/albuquerque/ has this to say about the fans’ experience at the park:

If you approach the park from the outside behind home plate, the landscaping and fanciful exterior of the facility really jump out at you. The gates through which you enter are a wonderful cross-breeding of a Southwestern look with cartoons! Once inside, the fun on-field promotions and clever names of the food stands add to the family atmosphere. Even the logo of the team’s name and the cartoonish mascot “Orbit” are a hoot!

The setting of the park…is not downtown Albuquerque, nor is it near the touristy (but still fun) wild-west Old Town area. It is located, though, where there is a wonderful view of the Sandia Mountains.

The experience of attending a minor league baseball game is quite different from a major league game and, these days, much less expensive. The fans in attendance are closer to the game and there is more spectator participation in the game. While the game itself is much the same the experience is more casual and fan-focused than at the major league parks. The design and layout of Isotopes Park is inviting for the city’s residents and enhances the experience of the game.

The Isotopes Park is owned by the City of Albuquerque. And operated by Albuquerque Baseball Club LLC. Construction began in 2001 and the park opened in 2003. Architects were HOK Sports Venue and SMPC Architects. Construction contractor was Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc.

From SMPC Architects:
http://www.smpcarch.com/project/isotopes-park/ 

Baseball has been a tradition in Albuquerque since the debut of the mostly dirt playing surface and folding chairs of Tingley Field in 1932. That facility was replaced in 1969 with the Albuquerque Sports Stadium, which served as home to the city’s minor league baseball team, the Dukes, for 30 years before suddenly relocating. To attract a new team to the community, the City knew they needed a minor league ballpark that would provide a major league experience. The HOK Sport-SMPC design team endeavored to create a modern ballpark, merging modern amenities with the rich history of Albuquerque and the endless natural beauties of the region. Amenities include 30 luxury suites, a diamond club, an open concourse with views to the field, 11,000 self-rising armchair seats, and grand entry plazas.

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