NFL commish Paul Tagliabue is swinging through California this week
, meeting with state and local officials as part of the renewed effort to bring a pro football team to the Southland.
Now, having the NFL return to L.A. would be a good thing (unless the Raiders moved back or city leaders let the league loot the treasury in exchange for them deigning to grant us a team).
I guess my only concern is that the proposed changes to the Los Angeles Coliseum
, which are necessary to add the luxury boxes and other amenities required by the NFL, may end up altering the historic structure beyond all recognition.
During my trip to Chicago last weekend, I had a chance to see firsthand what an ill-conceived adaptive reuse of a historic football stadium looks like. Soldier Field (see above) was a storied, yet indisputably antiquated, stadium. In 2002, construction began on a new seating bow
l inside of the historic structure.
Once construction was completed, the famous colonnades, which have borne witness to clashes of gridiron giants since 1924, were completely overshadowed by a huge aluminum seating bowl. The jarring effect of the ultra-modern bowl crammed into the neo-classical remains of the original structure
cannot be overstated. It looks like a flying saucer shoe-horned into the ruins of a Greek temple: inelegant and obtrusive.
It may now be a great place to see and play football, but it is not the historic structure that the adaptive reuse allegedly set out to preserve.
I hope that L.A. officials will learn from the mistakes of the Chicago team, and seek an adaptive reuse design that truly preserves the historical integrity of the Coliseum.