The driving force of this 4th-year architecture studio project was to create a minor league baseball stadium for the city of Topeka, Kansas. Early on it became apparent that there is a crude isolation and lack of connectedness from the city core to Northern Topeka. Similarly, the site is located directly north of the Capitol Building on the same side of the river, connected by Van Buren Street. By creating a connection between these major landmarks, the city of Topeka would be greatly enhanced. This “lightbulb moment” brought on the realization that the assignment of designing and creating only a baseball stadium had turned into a significant urban design opportunity. My idea was to turn Van Buren St. into a pedestrian-only pathway. This walkway would begin at the Capitol building and lead Topeka along an array of green public spaces and retail shops, all the way to the Kansas River riverfront and eventually the historic Northern Topeka. The baseball stadium, then, would act as a major node along that pathway, providing enriching views as the path ascends above the park and becomes part of the structure of the stadium. By implementing design strategies such as creative placemaking and placekeeping, I have successfully set a precedent on how to rekindle the visual and physical relationship to the northern district, while simultaneously creating a new cultural amenity for the City of Topeka, Kansas.
The idea of the name and logo came from the Kansa Indian Warrior "Ad Astra"; which simultaneously is the bronze statue at the top of the dome on the Topeka Capitol building. The Latin phrase "Per aspera ad astra" meaning "Through hardship to the stars" I thought was a fitting motto for a Minor League Baseball Team. The logo was designed around a patinaed star mimicking the aging of the copper and bronze accents of the Capitol Building.
Above is the urban site plan of the stadium and surrounding infrastructure. The yellow highlights the Urban pathway that links the Capitol Building to the Stadium and then on to the Kansas River.
The diagram above shows the structural components of a typical bay found within the stadium. The steel "Wings" were designed to support the elevated Urban pathway as well as proved tensional support for the canopy system that covers the grandstands.
Above is an example drawing found in my Construction Documents for Ad Astras Field. The drawing is NW building section with enhanced detail callouts for reference.