Lincoln Financial Field
Studio Agoos Lovera was the Associate Architects with NBBJ as the Architect of Record for the design of the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field. Our responsibility was for the development and documentation of the stadium’s exterior skin, pro shop, novelty stores, stands, and restaurant design, as well as the Site Architects for the construction of the stadium.
General Building Contractors Association, Best Commercial Project, 2005
“Studio Agoos Lovera did a terrific job on Lincoln Financial Field and it’s high time that I give you and your colleagues the credit you so richly deserve. Jorge, you and your team can be truly proud of the contributions you made to this project and I think it’s great that you’ll be able to reflect on these accomplishments every time you and your fellow Philadelphia friends and colleagues visit Lincoln Financial Field“
Testimonial by Dave Hatheway
The Linc to Tomorrow
New stadium’s design blends luxury, metal and minimalism
August 3, 2003
By: Inga Saffron INQUIRER ARCHITECTURE CRITIC
Even in an age when luxury skyboxes rule the roost, most American football stadiums remain everyman palaces, where fans can gather to satisfy the human craving for beer, brawn, blood and bravado. They are not usually designed for those sensitive souls who eat their hoagies on a plate.
But go to the Mercedes-Benz Club Lounge at the Eagles’ new Lincoln Financial Field and you will find rows of minimalist sofas; vases of fresh, white gladiolas; arrays of plasma-screen TVs; and a commissioned set of original black-and-white photographs. Those with seats on the upper deck can enjoy paeans to two darlings of contemporary European architecture, along with food they’ve packed in clear plastic sandwich bags.
The Eagles’ owner, Jeffrey Lurie, could have chosen any architectural style for his team’s new $512 million home, the most expensive to date in professional football. But Lurie, who swooped in from Boston via Hollywood to buy the Eagles in 1994, decided to appeal to the boutique-hotel set rather than the Union League crowd.
The result is a stadium – called the Linc – that forges far beyond the wood-paneled world of conservative Philadelphia and looks boldly into a dynamic future.
“Traditional,” Lurie explained in an interview, cutting to the chase, “completely bores us.”
Lurie and his wife, Christina, who played a major role in the stadium’s design, made a few peace offerings to the old guard, mainly in the form of the red-brick headhouse at the stadium’s entrance, which borrows from the demolished train stations of Philadelphia’s once-disgraced, now-beloved Frank Furness.
But their hearts don’t seem to be in that high-ceilinged space. Most fans in the luxury suites and club areas will reach their seats from other entrances, transported in silent, state-of-the-art escalators and elevators. Still, the brick headhouse may be a useful reminder that Philadelphia’s prosperity was once built on its railroads, especially given that the stadium is now a full three blocks from the Broad Street Subway.
The combination of token brick on the stadium’s exterior and modern cool on the inside should call to mind the strategy used at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The two public buildings even feature almost identical, high-backed minimalist sofas. But the Luries clearly felt less compelled to appease the city’s red-brick lobby than the Kimmel did. Large sections of the stadium’s exterior are sheathed in corrugated metal and girded by X-braces.
The Linc’s stylishness is no doubt accentuated by the contrast with the Phillies’ ballpark going up on the other side of Pattison Avenue. That stadium has the misfortune to pander to America’s obsession with retro just as the retro craze that began with Baltimore’s Camden Yards is waning. Spearheaded by a Wharton-schooled committee, the Phillies’ ballpark looks like a Motel 6 next to the Luries’ swinging Paramount Hotel.
While the Linc’s clubs and lounges are sophisticated in an urban-loft sort of way, they could also serve as the lobby for any of today’s designer hotels. You have to look pretty hard to find the word Philadelphia anywhere on this stadium, even though the public paid more than a third of the construction tab.
The stadium’s most thrilling space occurs in what used to be considered nose-bleed territory, that western upper deck concourse. There, bare steel I-beams and taut suspension cables crash through the polished concrete floors in a pure celebration of the materials’ industrial power.
Never mind that the concourse offers a spectacular panorama of Philadelphia’s own dying industrial landscape of mothballed warships and creaking rail yards. The view quickly pans across a range of dizzying extremes: from the gleaming Oz of Center City to the elevated highways speeding the population out to the suburbs to the scattering of concrete hatboxes known as the Sports Complex.
The Linc is very much the Luries’ personal statement. They selected the design-oriented NBBJ Sports & Entertainment of Marina del Rey, Calif., as their primary architect. Studio Agoos Lovera, Philadelphia architects known for their stylish and hotly colored buildings, were hired as the local associate and supplied much of the on-site supervision.
Early in the design process, the Luries met NBBJ’s principals, Daniel R. Meis and Ronald F. Turner, in Paris to give them a grand tour of their favorite architectural haunts. NBBJ, which designed Milwaukee’s Miller Park as well as futuristic stadiums in Asia, must have taken careful notes because all the architectural antecedents are duly recorded at the Linc.
The upper deck’s slashing steel is lifted almost verbatim from Bruno Gaudin’s Stade Charlety in Paris. The winglike canopies, with their sharply pointed talons, take their inspiration directly from Santiago Calatrava’s celebrated anthropomorphic bridges.
Look overhead next time you stroll out to the concourse for a Dietz & Watson hot dog, and you will see a refinery’s worth of pipelines. Those are the beer conduits, and a nod to the exposed pipe of the Centre Pompidou. The soft colors used in the clubs come from Michael Graves, the architect of the Eagles’ training compound on Broad Street, and a friend of the Luries’.
Add a few dashes of hotelier Ian Schrager, Furness and Christo. Mix in a cocktail shaker. Voila – the Linc. It’s fortunate that there is no copyright on architectural forms. It’s also fortunate that the Luries have good taste.
The Linc borrows far too liberally from big-name architects to be considered truly original work or an expression of Philadelphia culture. And yet, in putting all that high design in a football stadium, the Luries seem to be onto something fresh.
Much has been made about the Arizona Cardinals’ decision to hire the deconstructionist Peter Eisenman as their architect, but the Luries have paved the way with their design-driven stadium.
Anyway, as long as the sight lines are good, fans won’t care who used those muscular steel columns first. And the views of the field are excellent. Unlike the multi-purpose doughnut of Veterans Stadium, the Linc subjects none of its 69,000 seats to the shadows of a concrete overhang. The concourses, meanwhile, are twice as wide as those at the Vet. The Luries may have forgotten the water fountains, but there are 39 restrooms just for women, who now make up 40 percent of the NFL’s fans.
If the Birds lose, their supporters can console themselves with the great views of Philadelphia visible through the stadium’s open corners. And if that isn’t enough, they need only walk out to the club area, sink into an ultrasuede sofa, and change the channel on one of the 1,000 plasma-screen TVs.