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Hill of Hope
Whether you are sitting by the dock of the SF bay near the Ghandi statue, standing on the cliff edge of the Grand Canyon or looking up at the Joshua Tree in California…they all require a bit of travelling. An earnest sole is needed with an open mind as well as a good pair of Berghaus hiking boots…These are some of the local wonders of the world here in the USA which I suggest are a mandatory must see. I myself, a LJ Nomads Soccer Club alumni haven’t seen the Joshua Tree yet so you know what’s on my mind…But for the first time explorer, I suggest be prepared as they can be overwhelmingly emotional experiences…

Now switch gears and imagine walking out of the tunnel into a stadium packed with screaming soccer fans, also a bit nerve racking and overwhelmingly emotion experience. That is what we’re attempting to create when it comes to putting on a show or entertainment experience which you the fans pay to see. You may not experience each level, you may not even think of the preparation necessary but it is there and waiting. Waiting for your opportunity in this example whether it be as a ball boy, mascot, ref or player walking out of the tunnel onto the field…That is what the architects think about! So next time you are around a soccer stadium take the opportunity to walk around and experience or at least walk the walk which in turn provides the experience. Then come back to me and let me know your experiences as it is these experiences which need to be built into the soccer stadiums of the future. It is these experiences which fans will come to visit over and over to explore and experience the art and architecture designed into their local ground.

In 1992, the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus, I began a journey which led me to the World Cup 1994 USA in San Francisco. There I helped with many aspects of the preparation as well as the budget and Stanford stadium renovation…It was from here that the journey took on the task of researching designing and thus marketing a US National Stadium, well someone’s got to take the initiative…Since that time a few stadiums have been built such as the LA Galaxy’s Home Base and the new Hunt “Soccer Specific” Stadium in Texas…These are all positive signs of which direction soccer is heading in the USA. A word of caution though, maintaining financial stability is the key from now on! Running a stadium isn’t as easy as just cropping the wheat fields before each game, although that would be nice, a Dr Pepper please! Over across the pond in the UK, Coventry City are embarking on the idea of combining fun and games with everyday life by placing their new stadium along the A444 next to a grocery store and gambling casino in order to maintain profits…I haven’t found out about Arsenal’s new den but I read and hear its basically tickets which sustain their profits…So just what is the magic needed for success and prolonged financial stability in the USA soccer world? What drives the economy to subsist and continually invest in itself and thus run smoothly day to day and how can we all share and take part... As I sip a cup of tea and mull this information over it all becomes clear what my travels, research, and designing have been for …I recall standing looking up at the stadium at the top of the hill, telling myself what a magnificent “trash can”, no what a “beautiful trash can”. I don’t question Madejski stadium’s foundations or corporate logic, just look at their success?... You can imagine what possibilities lie ahead, but who or what was the catalyst for this bull run of stadiums being built? Giggle..cough... And where is this creation of mine which is still waiting for its chance…they say all good things take time…well as I take a bite out of snickers, I think mine will just have to continue to wait…

March 01, 2005 CJ Read-Jones


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