May 4, 2009
Architectural and sports lighting turn a nifty double play at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
By Paul Tarricone

In 2008, the New York Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. The New York Mets, meanwhile, stumbled through September and were eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the regular season for the second consecutive year. How to change the vibe? Burn the old uniforms and flip over a clubhouse buffet table? Uh, no. Instead, the remedy could be new ballplayers and new ballparks. Each team has brought in fresh talent and each will open a new stadium this month. What follows is a look inside the some of the lighting at Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium.

New York Mets

CITI FIELD

Designed by the architecture firm HOK Sport, Citi Field is clad in brick, limestone, granite and cast stone, with the brick closely resembling the masonry used at historic Ebbets Field (home of the old Brooklyn Dodgers) both in color and texture. Arched openings mark much of the façade, while exposed steel symbolizes the steel truss bridges connecting the boroughs of the city. Most fans will enter the $850 million stadium through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda—a 65-ft-tall (four-story) rotunda that reflects the Ebbets Field motif. The rotunda incorporates brick arches, exposed steel trusses, granite and a custom terrazzo floor. It provides access to three levels of the ballpark and features two curved stairways, four escalators and balconies overlooking the dramatic entry. M-E Engineers/Illume, Wheat Ridge, CO, was responsible for all architectural lighting from the building edge inward, as well as the sports lighting. At project inception, “I looked at Ebbets Field photos to try to get a handle on the façade,” says M-E Engineers/ Illume designer Steven Peterson. While there wasn’t much he could adapt in terms of fixture replication—electric lighting wasn’t a major element of the Ebbets Field façade—Peterson did “try to pick up other elements and enhance them.” For example, the bay window arches and vertical columns were both accented using 39-W metal halide spotlights. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda has a “turn-of-the century, Industrial Revolution” feel, adds Peterson. In keeping with that theme, the fixtures here are painted a dark “soot” color. Light poles with dual fixture heads (from Louis Poulsen) are used along the rotunda staircases with quad-head high-bay pendants hanging above. The main concourse features arched truss work outfitted with several hundred pendants (from Zumtobel) spaced at approximately 20-ft intervals. These carry over the industrial-type design from the rotunda. The workhorse lamp package for the main concourse and back-of-house areas is a metal halide lamp and ballast combination, while CFLs are used in the upper concourse pendants. All told, approximately 11,000 architectural fixtures have been installed. Sports Lighting: Citi Field has 824 sports field luminaires, placed at four locations around the stadium. The lights are mounted on customized, curved cross-arms that echo the arches on the façade. These curved steel frames also recall the arches found in New York’s steel bridges. Due to the seating bowl configuration the head-frames holding the sports lighting system are elevated to provide line-of-site coverage across the field and all corners. The illumination design goal was 300 footcandles in the infield, 250 fc in the mid-field and 200 fc in the outfield, with 10 percent variance within each zone.

New York Yankees

YANKEE STADIUM

Designed by the architecture firm HOK Sport, Citi Field is clad in brick, limestone, granite and cast stone, with the brick closely resembling the masonry used at historic Ebbets Field (home of the old Brooklyn Dodgers) both in color and texture. Arched openings mark much of the façade, while exposed steel symbolizes the steel truss bridges connecting the boroughs of the city.

Most fans will enter the $850 million stadium through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda—a 65-ft-tall (four-story) rotunda that reflects the Ebbets Field motif. The rotunda incorporates brick arches, exposed steel trusses, granite and a custom terrazzo floor. It provides access to three levels of the ballpark and features two curved stairways, four escalators and balconies overlooking the dramatic entry 

M-E Engineers/Illume, Wheat Ridge, CO, was responsible for all architectural lighting from the building edge inward, as well as the sports lighting. At project inception, “I looked at Ebbets Field photos to try to get a handle on the façade,” says M-E Engineers/ Illume designer Steven Peterson. While there wasn’t much he could adapt in terms of fixture replication—electric lighting wasn’t a major element of the Ebbets Field façade—Peterson did “try to pick up other elements and enhance them.” For example, the bay window arches and vertical columns were both accented using 39-W metal halide spotlights.

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda has a “turn-of-the century, Industrial Revolution” feel, adds Peterson. In keeping with that theme, the fixtures here are painted a dark “soot” color. Light poles with dual fixture heads (from Louis Poulsen) are used along the rotunda staircases with quad-head high-bay pendants hanging above.

The main concourse features arched truss work outfitted with several hundred pendants (from Zumtobel) spaced at approximately 20-ft intervals. These carry over the industrial-type design from the rotunda.

The workhorse lamp package for the main concourse and back-of-house areas is a metal halide lamp and ballast combination, while CFLs are used in the upper concourse pendants. All told, approximately 11,000 architectural fixtures have been installed.

Sports Lighting: Citi Field has 824 sports field luminaires, placed at four locations around the stadium. The lights are mounted on customized, curved cross-arms that echo the arches on the façade. These curved steel frames also recall the arches found in New York’s steel bridges. Due to the seating bowl configuration the head-frames holding the sports lighting system are elevated to provide line-of-site coverage across the field and all corners. The illumination design goal was 300 footcandles in the infield, 250 fc in the mid-field and 200 fc in the outfield, with 10 percent variance within each zone.

Contributor(s)

Paul Tarricone

Paul Tarricone

Paul Tarricone has more 25 years of experience in association and business-to-business publishing, specializing in the engineering, design, construction and facilities management markets. Mr. Tarricone currently serves as Editor and Publisher of Lighting Design + Application,... More info »