A Dome Grows in Brooklyn (Jul, 1956)

Or they could just move to California. It’s a pity. It wold have been nice to have a Buckminster Fuller designed stadium in Brooklyn.

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A Dome Grows in Brooklyn

The Dodgers’ home games may soon be played under this huge plastic bubble.

By Frank Tinsley

Mechanix Illustrated takes pride in being the first to show what the Brooklyn Dodgers’ new baseball park may look like—if the 20th century’s most daring architect gets his plan accepted. Buckminster Fuller has already earned the gratitude of the armed forces and the taxpaying public with his plastic igloos that can be helicopter-toted from air base to air base to serve as hangars, barracks, warehouses, administration buildings.

Fuller’s ball park plan is at present simply a proposal to employ his geodesic dome on a truly grand scale. The dome would be 300 feet high and 750 feet in diameter. How many fans it would hold has not yet been figured, but a smaller dome design submitted by architect Theodore Kleinsasser would seat 55,000—some 23,000 more than Ebbetts Field, the Brooks’ hallowed but decaying home park. Kleinsasser’s design is more detailed than Fuller’s and includes such novelties as a small sightseeing tramway over the top of the dome.

The dome design makes feasible the demand for a ball park big enough to hold the enormous Dodger following. It would also be an all-weather, year-round sports palace capable of pulling in big money as a showplace for every kind of sporting event and exposition. The New York State legislature has created a $30,000,000 authority empowered to create such a center and the dome design helped convince the lawmakers that it could be made to pay its own way. Mere Dodger sentiment could not have done that.

Mi’s drawing of the dome as it might look on completion includes details that originated in the MI office—details that in our opinion argue strongly in favor of adopting the basic Fuller design. The numerous entrances, corridors, escalators and other facilities are MI notions. At the top of the dome a small extension houses the air venting arrangements and the shadowless lighting fixtures that will light the field only, leaving the stands in comparative darkness. A huge underground car park under the stands and field leaves only a small central area for heating and air conditioning plants.

Four automobile entrances open off intersecting streets and are provided with three-lane ramps to the level below. Circular roads surround the main parking sections with radial access drives to the individual rows of car stalls. These are separated by sidewalks leading to the promenade above. This “concourse runs completely around the building at street level, with escalator bridges over the automobile entries leading to the grandstands above. The inner wall of the promenade is lined with shops, restaurants and other facilities whose rentals would help defray the building’s maintenance costs. A 24-hour parking service, operating independently of scheduled sporting events, provides another steady source of income.

Using the authorized 500-acre plot to the best advantage, Mi’s arena building is set in the center of a four square block area. This placement permits generous loading and unloading space for buses and taxi-cabs without interfering with the flow of through traffic around the sides of the square. Numerous safety islands and cross-walks lead to extra wide sidewalk areas were ticket lines form. Subway and train connections emerge inside the building’s promenade. (The site of the dome will adjoin the Long Island Railroad’s Brooklyn Terminal.) The whole project is laid out to handle the maximum number of people safely and to facilitate the flow of vehicular traffic peaks that sport centers are bound to generate.

The Dodger Dome would certainly become an object of pride in Brooklyn. It might even rival the borough’s ball team in public esteem. In any case, no club could be more deserving of such a fabulous park than that Fabulous Flock.

  1. hip2b2 says: January 25, 201211:47 am

    Pretty funny, about one year after this article the Dodgers moved to LA.

    Once again proving that prediction the future is fraught.


  2. Kosher Ham says: January 25, 201212:03 pm

    A Dodger dome in California?

    Well the Lakers were also hijacked from another location.

    For some reason we have been unable to hijack a NFL franchise to L.A. (Jets, Giants?)

  3. Hirudinea says: January 25, 20126:17 pm

    Mabye they saw the article and didn’t want to playing a dome?

  4. Ken says: January 25, 20129:58 pm

    “For some reason we have been unable to hijack a NFL franchise to L.A.”

    Oh, you have… the Rams (from Cleveland) and the Raiders (Oakland.) They just never stuck around.

  5. DrewE says: January 26, 20128:58 am

    The artist’s conception is rather loose here, I think. The obvious problems with it that I see:

    1. The dome pictured is not a geodesic dome: it’s not composed of triangles, but quadrilaterals.

    2. Fitting a wedge-shaped baseball field into a circle leads to some difficulties. Notice how far away the first-base stands are from the field. The front-row seat is about as distant from first as the top of the nosebleed section behind home plate is from home! The dugouts are also a nice long stroll away from everything. (It is worth noting that the scale of the field is incorrect; the outfield should be a lot larger compared to the infield. You’d still want to bring your opera glasses, though.)

    3. While having a big parking garage underneath the facility is a convenient idea, it does appear to leave the stands supported by…ummm…not a whole lot.

  6. […] throw from the train yards on which owner Walter O’Malley had tried and failed to build a new home for his Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s. O’Malley had been pushed by the famous/infamous New […]

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