by PSD Architect Adam Gill
December 6, 2013
During the 2013 Fall Semester at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Pro Sports Developments assisted the “College of Architecture” faculty in developing the design skills of the nation’s future Architects.
As the 2013 inaugural NASL soccer season at Toyota Field came to a close in San Antonio and 100,000 soccer fans had already passed through its gates, for 20 architecture students, the process of designing Toyota Field was just beginning. UTSA Architecture Professor Kevin McClellan recruited PSD’s own Adam Gill, who was the Project Design Lead for Toyota Field, to assist a class of about twenty UTSA Architecture students in the design of their own version of Toyota Field
The Architecture students’ main design project for the semester was to create their own hypothetical exterior façade (or “skin”) for Toyota Field. Their semester project began with a tour of Toyota Field, given by Adam Gill, who was himself a UTSA College of Architecture graduate. “Getting to hear the thought process behind an architectural design from the designer himself was rare when I was in architecture school so it was exciting to give the students that opportunity and insight,” said Adam.
Using Toyota Field as a model, Professor McClellan tasked the students with studying how the intricacies of a stadium’s exterior skin inform the exterior and interior personality of the stadium. The study included identifying how an exterior skin reacts with the stadium’s interior functions in terms of sunlight and shade, natural air flow, shelter from the elements, views in and out of the stadium, and even how the exterior skin can invite fans into the stadium at its entrance points.
The UTSA Architecture students were able to get personal feedback during the semester from Toyota Field’s Design Lead about their own designs as Adam Gill attended their midterm design critique and their semester final design critique on December 6. “I was very pleased with the depth of design I saw from many of the students,” said Adam. “It takes lots of study to understand the complexities of a stadium’s skin in form and function, but it also takes a special design vision to use the stadium’s skin to enhance the fan experience. And I saw that in some of their projects.”