According to the Sports Business Journal, the NFL’s Washington Redskins have hired Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design the team a new stadium.
If this report is indeed true, this would signify the first step in the team’s journey to depart FedEx Field (pictured above) in order to relocate to a new bespoke stadium somewhere else in the region.
BIG made headlines last year when it was selected to design Google’s futuristic greenhouse-style HQ-campus in Mountain View, California. The firm is also working with the Smithsonian on a 20-year master plan for museums on the National Mall.
According to team sources, firms with experience of designing NFL stadiums were also considered, however it was BIG that won out in the end.
The Redskins have been trying to garner support from local elected officials for a new stadium location for the last 12 months; this is despite the fact that the team’s lease at FedEx Field does not expire until 2027.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has pitched the team on locations in Loudoun County along the unbuilt second leg of Metro’s Silver Line, and the team hired lobbyists from McGuire Woods to advance support for a stadium among state legislators. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) meanwhile has enquired with federal officials controlling the land beneath RFK Stadium about building a new stadium there.
According to a piece in the Washington Post, Christopher S. Dunlavey, President of the D.C.-based planning and architectural firm Brailsford & Dunlavey, which worked on Nationals Park, commented that the selection of BIG represents “a very interesting and different kind of choice” because of the firm’s “splashy work on an assortment of other projects and only recent foray into sports”.
People involved in building stadiums are usually very reliant on the firms who have demonstrated a strong record in understanding sports sites. BIG is known very well for very innovative architecture and design, but they haven’t been known for that kind of expertise.