Essential Architecture- the North East

Oriole Park at Camden Yards


Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum HOK Sport


333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201






brick clad podium, steel structure


Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a baseball stadium located in Baltimore, Maryland ( 39°17'0.58?N, 76°37'18.9?W), which was constructed to replace the aging Memorial Stadium. It is the home field of the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Basbeall. It was the first, and thus one of the most highly praised, of the "retro" major league ballparks constructed during the 1990s and early 2000s (the first "retro" ballpark was Dunn Tire Park in Buffalo, which opened four years earlier and heavily influenced the design of Camden Yards). It is situated in a picturesque location, at the corner of downtown Baltimore and near the Inner Harbor.

Historically, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of several stadiums that have carried the Oriole Park name, for various Baltimore franchises over the years.

In 1989, construction began on an all-new, baseball-only ballpark for the Baltimore Orioles. Construction lasted 33 months on the ballpark, which finally opened on April 6, 1992, against the Cleveland Indians. After considerable debate on whether to name the new ballpark "Oriole Park" or "Camden Yards"; former Orioles owner Eli Jacobs favored Oriole Park while then-Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer favored Camden Yards; a compromise was reached to use both names.[1]

The retro-style ballpark sparked a trend among other cities to construct more traditional, fan-friendly ballparks in a downtown location. Prior to Camden Yards, the predominant design trend of stadiums was symmetrical dual-purpose "concrete doughnuts" located in the suburbs. The Orioles' previous home, Memorial Stadium, was such a suburban "concrete doughnut"[2] (although it was also within the City of Baltimore, it was well outside the downtown area).

Camden Yards hosted the 1993 MLB All-Star Game. On June 18, 1994, 43 fans were injured in an escalator accident; one of the stadium's multiple-story escalators, overcrowded with fans heading to their upper-deck seats, jerked backward, throwing passengers to the bottom landing. On September 6, 1995, Camden Yards witnessed Cal Ripken, Jr.'s record-setting 2,131st consecutive game (the layout of the playing field was, in fact, somewhat designed to match Ripken's hitting style). Exactly one year later, Eddie Murray blasted his 500th home run there.

Two orange seats stand out from the park's trademark sea of dark green plastic chairs. One, located at Section 96, Row D, Seat 23 in the right-center field bleachers (officially known as the Eutaw Street Reserve sections), commemorates the spot where Murray's 500th home run landed. The other, Section 86, Row FF, Seat 10 in the left-field bleachers, was the landing spot for Ripken's 278th home run as a shortstop, breaking Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks's record for the position. That home run was hit on July 15, 1993. Ripken finished his career with 345 home runs as a shortstop and 431 overall.

The only no-hitter thrown at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to date was tossed by Hideo Nomo, then with the Boston Red Sox, on April 4, 2001. Nomo faced 30 Orioles batters, walking Mike Bordick twice and Chris Richard once, as the Red Sox won, 3-0.

 Most memorable games
September 5, 1995: Cal Ripken, Jr. tied Lou Gehrig's streak of 2130 consecutive games played and homered.
September 6, 1995: Cal Ripken, Jr. broke of the streak of 2131 games and hit another home run. It should be noted that both President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore attended, along with Cal Ripken, Sr., who had not been to a game since being fired by the O's.
September 6, 1996: Eddy Murray hits his 500th career homerun in a game that fell exactly one year after Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak.
October 6, 2001: Cal Ripken, Jr.'s final MLB game. Ripken's last game was originally scheduled to be played against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. However, the tragic events of September 11 forced this game (previously scheduled to be played on September 15) to become his final game. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-1, while Ripken went 0-3. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Red Sox pitcher David Cone recorded the final out against Brady Anderson while Ripken waited on deck. Former President Bill Clinton and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig were in attendance.

 Architecture, transportation, and the local area

Camden Yards Transportation Center.Camden Yards is built at the former location of a major rail station; its name derives from the rail yards that were formerly on the site. The view from much of the park is dominated by the former B&O Warehouse behind the right-field wall. The stadium planners incorporated the warehouse into the architecture of the ballpark experience rather than tear it down or shorten it. The warehouse has been hit on the fly only once. Ken Griffey, Jr., hit a blast that reached the wall, but not during a game; it was during the Home Run Derby contest of the 1993 MLB All-Star Game.

At street level, between the stadium and the warehouse, is Eutaw Street, which is officially closed to all vehicular traffic. Along this avenue, spectators can get a view of the game or visit the many shops and restaurants that line the thoroughfare, including Boog Powell's outdoor barbeque stand. On game days, pedestrians must have a ticket in order to walk on the part of Eutaw Street that is adjacent to the stadium; however, on non-game days, the street is open to all, while access to the stadium itself is blocked by gates. Sections 90 - 98, called Eutaw Street Reserve, are located not in the stadium itself, but rather adjacent to Eutaw Street, with the seats descending toward the outfield below. If a game sells out, fans may purchase reduced-price "standing room only" tickets, which entitle them to enter Eutaw Street and watch the game from two designated standing areas.

Many home run balls have landed on Eutaw Street, and the Orioles have marked the spots with small baseball-shaped bronze plaques, embedded in the street itself. Don't expect to see the latest home runs marked immediately, however, as it sometimes takes up to a year for each homer to get a plaque.

On the street, there is also a statue done by sculptor Susan Luery[3] of left-handed Babe Ruth wearing a right-handed fielder's glove. The statue, created in 1996, is entitled "Babe's Dream" and shows him at the beginning of his career, before left-handed gloves (for the right hand of a fielder) were an option. [4] The floors of the warehouse contain offices, service spaces, and a private club.

The scoreboard advertises The Baltimore Sun at the top. The "H" in "The Sun" will flash to show a scoring decision of a hit, and the "E" will flash to show an error.

The stadium is the first major league park to have an outfield wall made up entirely of straight wall segments since Ebbets Field. The playing field is 16 feet below street level.

Immediately adjacent to the current stadium is a rail station served by both the Baltimore Light Rail and MARC commuter rail. The latter rail line provides direct service to Washington, D.C., the former to BWI Airport. The Light Rail began service around the time that the stadium opened.

The stadium is located in downtown Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor. The ballpark, along with M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, make up the Camden Yards Sports Complex (the football stadium wasn't built until 1998). Camden Yards is just a short walk from Babe Ruth's birthplace, which is now a museum. Coincidentally, the location of his father's pub was where center field is currently located on the playing field.

In May 2005, a new sports museum, Sports Legends at Camden Yards, opened in Camden Station. The following year, Geppi's Entertainment Museum opened above the Sports Legends museum.

 Ballparks influenced by Camden Yards
Since its opening day in 1992, Camden Yards was a success and fan favorite. Attendance jumped from an average of 25,722 over the last ten years of Memorial Stadium's tenure to an average of 43,490 over the first ten years of Camden Yards' existence.[5] Due to its success, many other cities have built traditional-feeling asymmetrical ballparks with modern amenities (such as skyboxes) in a downtown setting.