The new Changwon NC Park ballpark in Changwon, South Korea, officially opened at the weekend.
The Populous designed ballpark is home to the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO).
The Dinos joined the KBO in 2013 and had been playing at Masan Baseball Stadium, which opened in 1982 and was renovated in 2012 to accommodate the expansion club.
Designed to be active all year round, NC Dinos ballpark is a major breakthrough for sport and entertainment venues in South Korea.
It is the first baseball stadium to have 360° views to the field and integrate with the park outside. As part of the innovative design, all of the commercial spaces in the stadium including the restaurants, fan retail shop, function room and café are operational during the off-season.
Populous senior principal Andrew James spoke about the design as the venue hosted its first match between the home team, NC Dinos and Samsung, on Saturday 23rd March. He said:
Drawing on global trends and creating new traditions for fans in Korea, the design of NC Dinos is influenced by the baseball culture in America where spectators enjoy the opportunity to get outside and experience a more traditional ‘ball park’ atmosphere.
But more than that, ballparks of today and tomorrow connect with their surroundings, instead of closing themselves off. Our design opens up the venue to embrace its surrounding precinct and offers green spaces and facilities that can be enjoyed by the wider community any day of the year.
Surrounded by expansive recreational areas including play spaces for kids, the new precinct provides an inclusive environment for the broader public, making a small but significant addition to the city of Changwon.
Another key feature of Populous’ design is the roof top gardens stretching the length of the grandstand, which take their inspiration from the High Line in Manhattan, a park built on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad.
Focused on creating the best overall environment for players, local fans and families, Changwon NC Dinos Park delivers a premium fan experience.
The design is innovative, inclusive and immersive, providing great spaces and views for every fan.
By sinking the pitch, the main concourse sits at ground level, allowing for direct wheelchair and pram access. Casual seating areas around the outfield, with grass berms and timber terraces, create a flexible, relaxed space for families and fans.
The commercial facilities next to the main stand directly overlook the pitch and offer game views from the café and museum, allowing fans to purchase food and souvenirs while watching the action in real time.
The solar panels on the rooftop provides shade for users and a sustainable source of energy for the stadium. The garden is able to be enjoyed throughout the year and provides an alternative viewing area during game day.