The Detroit Lions and architectural partner ROSSETTI re-envisioned the fan experience across Ford Field. In total, 210,000 square feet of space was renovated in place or completely reconfigured, earning an ALSD Spotlight award in the process.
Editor's Note: The following article was submitted by Jared Kozinn, Senior Director of Business Development and Premium Seating, of the Detroit Lions in consideration for the 2017 ALSD Spotlight awards. At the ALSD's 4th Annual Sports Venue Design & Build Forum, we recognized Ford Field as having the best new loge and theatre box areas.
The New Ford Field Renovation Project is a comprehensive re-envisioning of the fan experience throughout the stadium. The Detroit Lions identified the need to upgrade specific areas at Ford Field to align with the changing local marketplace and demographics, as well as better utilize space within the stadium. A total of 210,000 square feet of space, ranging from large social clubs to suites and loges, will be renovated in place or completely reconfigured.
The design concept also strengthens the Lions’ brand, football legacy, and history in Detroit. Design inspiration is taken from the “Nothing Stops Detroit” slogan to highlight the grit, determination, and history of both the Lions and the city. The design themes are expressed through layering the team’s colors and graphics, as well as textures, furniture, finishes, and curated displays that will be constructed by local craftsman and artisans.
MILLER LITE TAPROOM
TOTAL SQUARE FEET: 6,800
TOTAL SEATING: 200
Detroit’s underground music scene has been a source of social gathering for generations. These social gatherings typically occurred in the unique architecture that Detroit has become known for around the world: the factory. The minimalist aesthetic of the architectural structures that were a part of the music scene became the inspiration for this new club location within Ford Field.
The Lounge is a new seating product that hovers five levels above the field on the north side of the stadium, an area previously filled with suites. The interior is intended to be a fresh, youthful experience that appeals to the modern fan. The edge of the club is lined with lounge-type seating to encourage socializing and movement, while taking advantage of the open view of the field. There will be no reservations for the lounge seating; however, there will be plenty of seating options along the 48-foot-long bar in the center of the club or on the sofas flanking the bar. Two chef’s tables are centrally-located, offering Detroit-centric food options for all club members.
CORNER BAR (CURRENTLY THE CORNER LOUNGE)
TOTAL SQUARE FEET: 9,100
TOTAL SEATING: 275
Inspired by the memory of when the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Tigers played on the same field, in the same stadium, and at the same CORNER. This new bar will highlight the special and unique Lions moments that have been captured in the memories of the NFL’s most loyal and die-hard fans. The bar’s classic design is inspired by all of the old-school drinking holes that lined the Detroit streets around Briggs Stadium where the team played for nearly four decades.
At the 150-linear-foot bar, made from oak and blackened steel with old factory glass accents, one can belly-up with ease to grab a favorite libation. The centerpiece of the bar will be the multi-screen video wall and LED statistic board, framed by a wall of vintage lockers and scoreboard. A collection of Lions memorabilia will be on display for all to view and remember the great players, statistics, and moments of the storied Lions history.
PLANTE MORAN TERRACE SUITES
TOTAL SQUARE FEET: 5,500
TOTAL SEATING: 140
Social and communal gathering is the hallmark for this unique club on the north suite level. At its core are the 12 theatre-box-style suites where a group of people can come together and watch the game but still have the option of gathering in a communal environment directly outside of their suite. This club offers all-inclusive food and beverage (including beer and wine) with high-end stadium fare for all members, including a made-to-order pizza bar with wood-burning oven.
To continue the social theme, there are multiple seating options to connect with your neighboring suite. The walls are clad in reclaimed Detroit-based wood and lighting accents help create that social environment.
LEVEL 2 – TOTAL SQUARE FEET: 5,400
LEVEL 2 – TOTAL SEATING: 106
LEVEL 3 – TOTAL SQUARE FEET: 16,800
LEVEL 3 – TOTAL SEATING: 476
The Gridiron Club capitalizes on Detroit’s growing culinary recognition and the social scene that parallels it. Food takes center stage in this club, by the addition of several new Detroit-centric concessions manned by new local culinary sensations. Surrounding these unique concessions will be a lively dining and bar environment that has multiple large-screen TVs. The highlight of this lively space is the unique lighting grid structure that hovers over all the club patrons that is a visual connection to the cooking grid iron that similarly hovers over the flames at these new culinary destinations. The concept will be expanded to the main concourse to assist with ease of access to the club's offerings with a new bar, large TV screens, and another Detroit-centric food destination.
“After 15 years, we still hear what a great venue Ford Field is from our fans, visiting teams, and the great acts that have performed here,” said Detroit Lions Team President Rod Wood. “The Ford Family is making a substantial investment to make sure our stadium remains among the best, but ultimately, it’s still about winning football games. We want to get fans in the building having a great time and excited about what they’re experiencing so that they can continue to help us create a home field advantage.”
SOUTH CLUB & LOGE BOXES
The south side area celebrates Detroit’s tradition and takes its cues from the original Hudson’s warehouse. The design aesthetic maintains this important history, and is elevated to include a greater brand presence through graphics, lighting, and team colors. The furnishings and finishes will reflect a modern aesthetic while blending with existing elements.
The new South Club will be created by transforming several suites into a club with open volumes of space. Fans will have expansive views onto the field with many opportunities for movement around the space while socializing and viewing.
The loge boxes are a brand new concept, featuring large, comfortable seats and in-seat food and beverage service.
LOCATION: Detroit, Michigan
SIZE OF RENOVATION: 210,000 square feet
PROJECT TEAM: ROSSETTI (Design Architect), Illuminating Concepts (Lighting Designer), iDiBRI (Audio/Visual), MA Engineering (Mechanical/Electrical), SDI (Structural), S20 (Foodservice)
DESIGN ARCHITECTS: Jim Renne, Principal-in-Charge; Kirk Phillips, Design Lead; Katie Miller, Project Manager; Jennifer Sutton, Interior Designer; Robert Hewer, Technical Lead; John Bigtacion, Designer; Krysten Gehring, Architect-Suites; Chris Gillian, Architect-Clubs; Allyson McCarty, Architect-Club.
DESIGN START: August 2016
PROJECT COMPLETION: August 2017
For more design best practices, join the ALSD at our 5th Annual Sports Venue Design & Build Forum, June 25-26, 2018.