It’s still early in the San Diego Chargers’ stadium process—they’ll be the first to admit that—but with dreams of voters approving an initiative to help fund a $1 billion downtown stadium as part of a $1.8 billion project that includes a neighboring convention center and park, we get our first look at a “conceptual design intended to convey the Chargers’ vision for what the stadium and convention center expansion could look like,” the team says on its website.
Tucked into San Diego’s downtown, David Manica of Manica Architecture presents a tight-knit footprint that merges with the existing downtown, even incorporating the historic façade of the Wonderbread building on one side and creating a home for local restaurants and retail on another side.
From an in-stadium experience, Manica expects an “intimate and compact design” for the seating bowl and a retractable roof to ensure the stadium has year-round use as an extension of the convention center. The sail-like structure also features a “grand opening on the west end of the bowl” for views of the downtown skyline from within the stadium.
The current concept features separate entries for the stadium and convention center, while a large “sky garden” would connect directly to the upper concourse of the stadium for panoramic views of the Coronado Bridge, the water and the downtown. The Chargers said the architecture of the stadium and convention center aims to blur the line between indoor and outdoor space, featuring outdoor balconies and operable walls.
Designs for street-level facades serve to “lower the scale of the project” to bring it into balance with the neighborhood around the stadium, while a public park envisioned for the property protects a view corridor to a new library and links to walkways in the East Village.
The Chargers said any final stadium design will result from a process that includes the city and any governmental entities designated to coordinate the expansion, once approved by voters. If approved by voters.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.