Book Cover <

Vanity Fair contributing editor and
renowned architecture critic Goldberger (Building Art: The Life and Work of
Frank Gehry
, 2015, etc.) sets his gaze on the design of Major League
Baseball stadiums.

The detail of the research, both its breadth and depth, is
remarkable, and the author doesn’t limit himself to current stadiums; he also
looks at some dating back to the 19th century. The volume also includes more
than 150 illuminating photos scattered throughout the text. Though the
narrative is not always cohesive—Goldberger jumps from one ballpark and city to
another—each chapter carries a theme and subthemes as the author demonstrates
trends in stadium design. He discusses the evolving designs in terms of the
quality of the viewing experience for fans, and he evaluates how each stadium
shapes the city around it—and is simultaneously shaped by the characteristics
of that particular city. Goldberger’s touchstone is Camden Yards, the home of
the Baltimore Orioles that opened in 1992. It’s clear that the author considers
Camden Yards the most exciting stadium ever constructed, and in his opinion,
since it was built, it has not been surpassed. In addition to discussing
inanimate qualities such as the wood, steel, stone, and concrete of the
edifices, Goldberger provides miniportraits of hundreds of men (and a few
women) who have owned the baseball teams, influenced the politics of the cities
where the stadiums sit, and designed the stadiums in both derivative and
original ways. Goldberger is aware that he could have also included ballparks
from the minor leagues across the United States, from the now defunct Negro
League, and from baseball cultures outside North America. He explains that such
inclusivity would have yielded an encyclopedia rather than a smooth narrative,
so he set limits on the scope of the book, which is quite impressive in its
current form.

A tour de force that will appeal to devoted baseball fans,
architecture devotees, and even casual readers.

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