UPDATE: Regina's stadium concept design officially released

Regina city hall shows first look at design drawings
Reported by CJME staff
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Here it is, your first look at the design concept drawings for Regina's open-air stadium project. What do you think? 

The City of Regina has released a set of visually striking conceptual drawings, giving the public an idea of what kind of stadium could be built with $278 million.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon the city and London, England-based architect Dipesh Patel released the drawings. They depict an eye-catching, European-style stadium that actually looks kind of like an eye.

Patel said the design is inspired by the prairie sky and the role it plays in the city and at the current Mosaic Stadium, the facility the city is looking to replace as the first phase of the larger, billion-dollar Regina Revitalization Initiative.

"You know (fans) like the atmosphere, the close proximity to the action, and you know on a summer's evening there's nothing nicer than sitting under the open sky. But (Mosaic) is not where you'd start if you were designing a 30,000 seat stadium," Patel said.

That sky plays a big part in Patel's design, especially when it comes to the "spectator roof" that provides a partial covering for the building to protect fans from the elements. The material making up that partial roof would be see-through, comprised of a series of cloth and polycarbonate "cells" that would be constructed in a way that would help control heat inside the oval bowl that makes up the form of the building.

"The summer sun, which is high in the sky, we can block that and at the same time have a roof that lets the winter sun come through and warm up the inside of the stadium and the people in their seats."

Another design element on the exterior of the building's east and west points would also work to control the flow of wind. Similarly, in the cooler months it would be closed off, forcing the wind over the stadium. In the summer months it can open, allowing the wind inside to cool things down.

The roof was a point of focus for the provincial government, which made its financial participation in the project contingent on the building being "roof ready," meaning a full covering could be added in the next few decades. Patel addresses that in his design, insisting that it's a relatively easy thing to do when starting from scratch.

"But quite frankly I think this (partial roof) will work so well nobody will ever want one," he added.

The bowl shape will ensure that every seat has a good view of the playing surface. The bench seating Rider fans are so used to will also be gone, replaced by three tiers of individual seats: standard, "club" seating, and suite seating. The design allows for an extra 15,000 to 20,000 seats to be added for big events like Grey Cups or major concerts, all within the existing footprint of the building.

Then building boasts a long list of other design elements as well, like ramps leading to higher seats that weave from indoors to outdoors, enclosed concourse portions that feature modern amenities like TVs, wi-fi, and more comfortable bathrooms, and the myriad party decks, lounge spaces, and other areas where you can watch the game from if you don't want to be in your seat.

The plan also includes the creation of a "greenway" running from Albert Street all the way to the Lewvan. That's meant to make for a nicer, safer walk from the downtown core to the stadium site at Evraz Place.

Of course this is just a hypothetical design. The city's Brent Sjoberg says there's still more than a year to go before a final design is chosen.

"There could be significant differences in areas," he conceded, noting that the concept drawing will give companies bidding on the final contract for the project a place to start from on their own designs. Those contractors will be whittled down to a shortlist that's expected to include three finalists, each providing designs of their own.

A design contest will also be held in the coming months. Eventually the city will decide on a plan that will best suit Regina.

"I think it's important to note that this is a concept. Blueprints get down to the fine elements of where electrical outlets will go, so we're a long ways from that," Sjoberg concluded.

The conceptual drawings will be used to gather feedback from the public as well on what they want to see in a new stadium.

The city also launched a new web site Wednesday for the larger Regina Revitalization Initiative that provides more information on timelines and the larger goals of the plan. ( http://www.reginarevitalization.ca/stadium-project/)

Karen Brownlee/CJME

Karen Brownlee/CJME

Karen Brownlee/CJME

Roughriders CEO Jim Hopson and architect Dipesh Patel. Karen Brownlee/CJME

Karen Brownlee/CJME