East Village Stadium Masterplan Concept

Following our interview with Roger Showley of the San Diego Union Tribune (you can read it here), here is a bit more information on the design concept & the multiple ideas that we explored as we developed it. The essence of the idea was to capture the imagination of what could be for a downtown stadium in San Diego. To spark debate, encourage dialogue & infuse a belief for the City, the Chargers & the community that San Diego deserves an integrated & considered master plan  for the East Village site.

Upfront also, I just want to emphasize that this design is a collaboration of ideas between DBRDS & McCullough Landscape Architects (www.mlasd.com), with 3D visualizations generated in collaboration also with Design Subcontrating Co. (www.designsubs.com).

Here is the complete presentation, slide by slide – you can click each image to enlarge & read the specific text that goes along with it.


  1. Eric Miller

    The Chargers are incapable of selling out the new stadium and yet we need a new stadium the city/county can not afford? A new stadium will also mean more expensive tickets. The new stadium would sellout only the first year. Afterwards ALL games will be blacked out.
    Lets test the Chargers bluff. Spanos is too cheap to spend a significant amount of his own money.

  2. Krush

    The design is nice. Would really like it if there were definitive bolts. Parking looks like it will be an issue. Perhaps a structure ( or two) with more than one (perhaps four or more) entry/exit points each structure. Skybox is an excellent idea. Chargers need this stadium. LA wants to build one and will be recruiting the Chargers. Although I live close to LA the Chargers belong in San Diego. I will continue to be a season holder and support my San Diego Chargers!! Yea on the stadium.

  3. Nick G

    Awesome design! This would be THE most amazing stadium. Do you plan on adding some area for a convention center extension? I’m sure with the city contributing that will have to be added to the plans. Overall I really really hope this gets built!

    Also, have you been in contact with the guys at sdstadium.org? They are an organization dedicated to getting the word out and organizing/updating the Charger following with stadium news. Check em out.

    • Thanks for your comments Nick.
      We have been contacted by the San Diego Stadium Coalition…we are hopeful to meet with them soon to discuss further.


      pauly @ dbrds

  4. kte

    Slide #9 Landscape Plan will not enlarge. Each time I try to open it the #10 slide of the charger logo concept diagram opens. Incorporating public park space is absolutly a better idea then limiting the venue to events in the stadium and a much needed addition to that side of San Diego. Still not sure about the price tag though.

  5. Paul Verdin

    CAPITAL OMG!!!!!!! this is the GREATEST DREAM made possible by such a talented, and truly amazing company!..WOW!!! my STANDING APPLAUSE goes out to dbrds!!!!! keep up the good work and OUR DREAM here in San Diego for OUR Chargers!!, and this piece of fine art by the way, will look fantastic along OUR San Diego Padres’s Petco Park!!!..this is Truly Amazing!!! GREAT JOB dbrds!!!

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  7. Ramiro

    Awesome master plan concept!!! I can clearly see the involvement of landscape architects, bringing in the park and green space concept…celebrating my home town’s incredible weather…yea!!! Inspiring weaving of bolt and team colors. Huge kudos to designers!

    I like the limited on-site parking. We have to start putting our actions where our mouths are about building more sustainably, including using public transport and creating useable outdoor space that can be enjoyed by all. Acres of asphalt or concrete parking is NOT what should dominate.

    At 52, and still waiting for a Charger Super Bowl victory, I would love to know that the Chargers have a permanent home. If it is anything like what is presented, it would be fitting for America’s Finest City!

    Thank you!

  8. I’ve studied stadium architecture since I was in middle school, and this is the first american based stadium that has knocked my socks off. You guys deserve a huge pack on the back for this! I wish Houston would’ve came up with an idea like this or HOK Sport, now Populous. Again, great job!

    • Thank you Steven!
      We are continually meeting with as many people as possible to spread the word, gather ideas & solutions to the many challenges & gain support. This week we met with Councilmembers Kevin Faulconer & Todd Gloria – both of which really liked the design & enjoyed learning more about.
      Please feel free to drop into our office anytime you may be downtown to meet in person & discuss further.
      Pauly @ DBRDS.

  9. You need to seriously reconsider your design plan. Part of the reason that Qualcomm is outdated is because of the seating arrangement. Take a look at the original proposal that the Chargers had done to build a new stadium on the Qualcomm site about 10 years ago.

    One of the key points–and one of the major reasons the current stadium cannot be renovated–is that unlike the multi-purpose stadiums of the late 60’s, today’s football-only stadiums have an approximately 80/20 sideline to end zone seating ratio. Most people want to sit on the sidelines; they feel they can see the action better. The concept you have proposed keeps about a 60/40 ratio similar to the current stadium, making it an outdated design.

    Your design may look unique and pique curiosities, but functionally it is not a very good one. Redraw it to reconfigure the seating and you’ve got something.

    • One other thing about the circular design: Like the current Qualcomm design, it has the effect of pushing the crowd farther away from the action. Look at the newer stadium designs and you’ll see that they are designed in an oval-like configuration specifically to pull the sideline seats closer to the field, creating the feeling that the crowd is right on top of it. It makes for a much more intimate atmosphere and improved sight lines.

    • Thank you for your comments Andy.
      To explain a bit – I agree that NFL specific stadiums have more of an oval shape with an 80/20 ratio of seating along sidelines to end zones. In design this ‘concept’ we wanted to look beyond the use of the NFL alone, and design a multi-purpose stadium that has the potential to host a large variety of events including FIFA World Cup games, Rugby Union World Cup games, MLS games (if San Diego could get a soccer team!) & even possibly Olympic events.
      With this in mind, we set about our design & created the dynamic shape that we have. This isn’t by any means to say that we ignored the 80/20 ratio. Although our renderings do not represent this is the seating layout – if you look at the longest of the ‘volcano side blades’ you will see that these are much taller than the others – and they run along the side lines of the field. This is to ensure that IF our design was to move forward, that we have made certain allowances in the design to allow increased seating in these areas.
      We are a small (but very passionate!) design studio – and we feel that IF our proposal was to move forward, that we would collaborate with the Chargers Architect POPULOUS to review, revise & improve the design to maximize the potential of all of the above events (NFL specifically) of the facility.
      We hope that this master plan can become the catalyst to ensure that the teams remains in its home of San Diego & that if such a facility is built, that it benefits the entire community & the future of San Diego as America’s Finest City.
      Thanks again for your comments & if you are ever in Gaslamp, please feel free to drop into our office to meet in person.
      Pauly @ DBRDS.

  10. Pauly-

    I appreciate your response, and I certainly understand your position to make the new stadium a “multi-purpose” facility. You’re absolutely right to do so. After all, the more events the stadium is able to draw, the more economically viable the idea becomes.

    Still, you’re missing a bit of the point: Even in soccer, rugby union, etc., the best seats are along the sidelines, and that’s where people want to sit. Look at even the soccer only stadiums in Columbus, OH, Philadelphia, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Thornton, CO (Denver). The primary seating areas are all along the sidelines. Look at the soccer stadiums in Europe. The seating areas are more concentrated along the sidelines.

    The reason the multi-purpose stadiums of the past (including Qualcomm) were a much rounder, more circular configuration was because they were built specifically to house baseball and football, two very different games with very different field configurations. It created the need to make all kinds of compromises in order to effectively be the home for both sports. The sports that you cited above all have very similar field configurations. No such compromises are necessary.

    Your design is very unique and attractive, but it must be configured in a way to cater to the wants and needs of the fans (customers) of today’s sports. I’ve been to 27 of the current NFL stadiums, and the best ones are the ones where you feel the crowd closing in on top of you; and many of the new ones still accommodate MLS soccer quite nicely. Most people feel the best seats are on the sidelines, and that’s why the 80/20 configuration for the “football only” stadiums was deemed crucial by firms like HOK/POPULOUS, and that’s what the teams want (after all, they’re the ones contributing hundreds of millions of dollars toward the construction).

    I would think it rather easy to keep the basic concept of your design and yet move more of the seating areas towards the side. You might even save some of the physical footprint that way, which could be a major selling point for the City.

    By the way: Don’t forget the soft retractable roof so that it can host major basketball events such as the NCAA Tournament as well.

    • Andy –

      I sincerely appreciate your comments. IF our project was ever to move forward (fingers crossed!) we look forward to the many evolutions it would go through (with the guidance of POPULOUS) to become a reality. Our concept is at this point simply that. Its an idea, one which we hope will be the catalyst for the debate of keeping the Chargers local & in this great City. As mentioned in my email – I feel our design is on a scale that it could certainly house a different seating configuration (which we will explore sometime in the future) to make a more desirable seating arrangements for the NFL & others if necessary. We have simply planted the seed of an idea that this City deserves a great facility & we look forward to the debate continuing over the coming months. As a small design firm, we have invested a great deal of unpaid hours to develop an idea & as time (and finances) permit – we will certainly be reviewing such comments into our design to be continually improving the proposal.

      Per my previous response – if you would like to grab a coffee & chat about it further please do not hesitate to drop into our office anytime – we are always available to meet with other passionate people!

      Thank you!

      Pauly @ DBRDS.

  11. BBrian

    Need more space for Tailgating! We love to tailgate before a game and so do 70,000 other fans. I don’t see enough space.

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  14. Gonzo

    i work at GEICO and the only career I would ever change my own for, would be to play for the SAN DIEGO Chargers. Obviously that is only a childhood dream, but it just shows how much my bolts mean to me. So all this talk about LA and AEG making progress towards building “Farmers Field”, really strikes a chord with me. If I had the business mind that is required to put a proposal together to present to Warren Buffet, (founder of Brookshire Hathaway, parent company of Geico), I would do it in a heartbeat. But I don’t. However, you guys do, or at least have business connections that do. Picture this world-wonder of a stadium being known as “The Gei-cone”. Geico is always looking for ways to expand here in this huge market known as California, and I believe if this idea is presented to them property, it may just work. Not only does the idea of keeping “The Boys in Powder Blue” in Sunny Diego become a reality , but oh how nice it would be for the Gecko to stick it to one of its largest rivals in such a poetic way

    • Gonzo

      Honestly, the one thing your stadium design is missing, is a big, bright, GEICO logo with the word “Stadium” under it in a nice cursive font. I understand this can’t be done without Geico’s permission, that is why we need to get this rolling. You guys have connections with the stadium coalition, counsel members, landscape architects, and of course a heck of a design, while I have countless reasons why Geico is the perfect candidate for naming rights to your work of art, important connections within Geico, Pechanga Resort and Casino (who is a proud sponsor of the Lakers), and lastly, a graphic designer that has done work for Vizio, Harrah’s Entertainment, and various Hollywood blockbusters, who is only a text or phone call away. If we don’t take it upon ourselves to put something together, someone else will, or even worse, no one will and the Chargers will bolt straight to LA.

  15. Gonzo

    PS: As you guys are already aware of, Mayor Sanders an his staff are pretty set on having the east village venue host other events in the offseason. So although I agree 1000% with you guys on the retractable roof being an extra expense because of our awesome weather, a roof as such would undoubtedly help lure the NCAA Final Four and other events of that magnitude to America’s finest city. You guys are the experts and you’d know a lot better than me if this is even possible, but what if intead of just the outlines of the bolt logo around the top of the stadium, you actually put the two huge logos up there (they probably shouldn’t be yellow), with the retractable roof running in between them. This would in no way compromise the shape of your amazing design, yet it may just gain a little more traction in city hall.

    • LightningJoe

      I like Gonzo’s idea about a retractable roof with Team logos. I think that would look amazing from the stands. Roofs don’t have to be cumbersome or heavy either. I bet they could be light or even semi transparent as to not be too distracting….As for the Stadium itself I really love the concept and how well integrated it is into the existing community. Very beautiful renderings and thought went into this. As much as I love the outer physique I would also love a chance to see more of the inner workings too though. Most die hard fans are really curious of functionality as well. Perhaps renderings of views from different seat locations or from the Skyboxes. Maybe what access ways, shops and vendors would look like from the inside or maybe the lower parking all the way to the field would be fantastic too. Anything to help stir the imagination and excitement.

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