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B.Arch Thesis: Precedent Study - Providence Park


Outside the city of Portland and the MLS, this stadium is one of the lesser known in the country. Providence Park is one with a history that stretches nearly a century and dozens of uses during its time. This stadium is one that shows how a community has embraced it as a piece of the neighborhood fabric, while also being able to adjust and update to meet the needs of its users.

 

October 9, 1926

Location: Portland, Oregon

Size: 9 Acres

Architect: A.E. Doyle & Morris H. Whitehouse and Associates

PCost: $502,000 ($7.1 Million in 2018)

Sporting Venue Type: Soccer

 

Adaption to Change

Starting back in 1893, Providence Park can trace its roots back to the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) building a simple athletic field and one small grandstand.39 Since then, the park has been renovated and changed countless times to adapt to new tenants.


Renovations Over Time

1926 - Providence Park built out to a full stadium configuration, originally hosting football games.


1956 - The first major renovations took place, adding bleachers to the east and southeast areas of the park, configuring the grounds for primarily baseball usage.

1980 - $9.5 million renovation to improve the foundation, concourse and roof.


2000 - $38.5 million project to remove old bleachers and installed new seats. First major renovation of the park since 1956.


2009 - Renovations began to turn Providence Park into a soccer-specific venue, costing $36 Million, completed in 2011.


2018 - The latest round of renovations would bring a new vertical change to the park for the first time since 1956. This project added 4,074 seats to the east side of the park, costing a total of $85 million by the completion of the project.


The changes over time at Providence Park, these images show how the stadium has evolved from 1956 to 2018.

 

Urban Fabric

Providence Park has been one of the lesser-known examples of good urban design and a model for how stadiums can stand the test of time by being able to adapt and change as the uses of the facility will change over time.


The park property is also still occupied by the Multnomah Athletic Club, who owns the facility to the immediate south of the stadium, situated on the same site.


The park is nestled in the middle of the Goose Hollow neighborhood adjacent to downtown Portland. This location is one of the contributing factors to the success of the stadium. Being embedded into this urban neighborhood has allowed for both commercial and residential areas to develop and flourish around the park.


The park itself acts as a boundary for some of the uses within the neighborhood, becoming the rough transition zone for the commercial buildings around the north and east sides of the park and single-family residences to the south and part of the west side.

Providence Park sits on the boundaries of the residential neighborhood to the south, and the commercial areas to the north.

Transportation

The park has conveniently located cable car and bus stops right outside of the stadium, eliminating the need for surface lots around the park and increasing the pedestrian traffic in and around the site.

 

Precedent Summary

Providence Park is a stadium that has been able to integrate to the urban fabric of Portland over time. There is proof that the stadium can adapt to its uses over time and the city realized the importance of keeping the stadium in the same location, rather than relocating it further outside the urban center. Providence Park is a precedent that shows an American stadium that has been built in an urban area and has become apart of the neighborhood rather than its own entity that does not accept its surroundings.


Resources

  • “Providence Park: A Portland Landmark since 1926.” Portland Timbers. Portland Timbers, January 16, 2019.

  • Orr, Michael A. “A Short History of the Stadium’s Footprint and East Side Expansions.” Stumptown Footy. Stumptown Footy, April 28, 2017.

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