Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2021

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Timothy Frank


I personally have experienced the drama of thousands screaming and celebrating at once for the home team or heard the roar of the crowd from outside the stadium. But where does the community connection go when the teams move on? In cities across the world, sporting venues are abandoned as national events depart and hometown teams relocate. Dan Meis expressed in Death of a Stadium that “NFL stadia host less than 20 events a year with 30-year lifespans. This equates to $25 million per event. “First, I questioned what can be done with the facility at the end of the season or after the final game has been played? Why should society walk away from these massive and expensive structures? Eduardo Galeano stated “Have you ever entered an empty stadium? Try it. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing less empty than an empty stadium. There is nothing less mute than the stands bereft of people.”.

Now that desolation and silence has created a giant void within the city spatially and culturally. At least there can be a solution to increase the lifespan. Ultimately, national stadiums rely on tax funding to operate, but remain empty for the bulk of the year. But in situations like in Rio, the Olympic games costs the city about 12 billion to organize the colossal event, yet the buildings were left vacant and vandalized months afterwards. This led me to question how these colossal abandoned landmark structures can be re-introduced and utilized in the current community to better serve the people and possibly address social issues. The rapid city growth has led to housing shortages with about 19% of the population in impoverished living conditions. Hiller stated that “Stadiums and arenas have the greatest potential for multiple uses and revenue generation”, so rather than growing into the countryside, I believe the opportunity of change is embedded within the once celebrated area.

Stadiums not only affect the economy of an area but serve as a primary gathering space for the public. It is a place where individuals can come together and celebrate a cultural connection. Dating back to the Roman Colosseum, the stadium serves as multiple roles of connectivity and civic pride for the community. The Roman Colosseum had multiple uses including gladiator shows, battles, and plays. Centuries later it still stands as one of the most visited destinations in Italy. It is a prime example on how to utilize a stadium to serves its best throughout its life expectancy and how a stadium served as a cultural node within a community. Unlike common stadiums today, the Colosseum was not abandoned by the public. Throughout the years it continued to be an integral part of the urban life by transitioning to a post-occupancy function.