Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mechanized Stadium of the Future (1958)


The November 2, 1958 edition of Closer Than We Think featured a "mechanized stadium."
The stadium of tomorrow might very well be adaptable to a variety of athletic and other events, thereby solving a practical problem that has long plagued sports promoters.

The mechanized arena depicted here contains self-propelled sectional grandstands made of a new lightweight high tensile aluminum. Such seating areas would be maneuverable and could be properly positioned for the event at hand with little difficulty. Thus the stadium would be as suitable for a baseball game as it would be for football, boxing or hockey.

And not only would such a stadium bring spectators right up to where the action took place - but as an added touch there might be an adjustable mobile glass roof to protect them from the elements.

Next week: "Turnpike Jet Lines"

Many thanks to Tom Zmudzinski for providing this difficult to find strip.

See also:
Sports Fans of the Year 2000 (1967)
Mile Run in 3:41 by Year 2000 (1965)
Lunar High Jump (1979)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)
Zero-Gravity Football (1981)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
"Grasshopper" Golf Cart (1961)

8 comments:

Nate said...

According to Wikipedia, Aloha Stadium near Honolulu actually did this:

“Four movable sections, each 3.5 million pounds and with a capacity of 7,000, could move using air cushions into a diamond configuration for baseball (also used for soccer), an oval for football, or a triangle for concerts. However, in January 2007, the stadium was permanently locked into its football configuration, citing cost and maintenance issues.”

Sean said...

SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto, which opened in 1989, was the first stadium in the world to have a fully-retractable motorized roof. It could be fully opened and closed in 20 minutes.

FredProgGH said...

From what I can tell (I could be wrong, I don't really make studying such things a priority) most cities have abandoned massive multi-purpose stadiums and gone back to separate dedicated facilities for each major sport. But the big trend now does seem to be indoor/outdoor use with retractable roofs or playing fields that move outside.

beagledad said...

Wow! A Radebaugh piece that's almost a little bit accurate! (Though I see he couldn't help putting in the flying family cars . . .)

min0taur said...

This theme crops up a lot in the paleofuture -- enclosed megastructures that people get to via enclosed, flying vehicles. What I see there is a trio of persistent cultural attitudes, pretty accurately rendered: (1) mistrust toward nature, expressed as a preference for controlled environments; (2) a sort of terrestrial version of life in space (the only place where maintenance on such structures would absolutely have to be done); (3) a power daydream: having so much cheap energy available that we can move buildings around for the hell of it.

Kaleberg said...

I like the moving grand stands idea. They're using it in an opera, Die Soldaten:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/arts/music/07armo.html

Anonymous said...

There are blocks of seating which can be removed in Bayern Munich stadium to create standing areas, and many new stadiums have retractable roofs.

VP81955 said...

I believe the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, which opened in 1961, was built with a retractable roof that could open in the summertime -- one of the facility's initial main tenants was the Pittsburgh Civic Opera, which used the open roof for summertime programs. (A minor-league hockey team was an early wintertime tenant; the NHL's Penguins didn't come into being until 1967.) The arena still houses the Penguins, although it no longer is convertible (IIRC, you can see the roof open in the basketball movie comedy "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh") and it.s considered outmoded by current standards. I think the team will be getting a new arena in a year or two.