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Project of the Week – CHS Field

Architect: Snow Kreilich Architects and Ryan A+E
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Photography: Paul Crosby Architectural Photography & Christy Radecic Photography

“The character, contrast, dynamism & scale of the Western Red Cedar ceiling makes it the defining & most memorable feature of the ballpark.” – Mike Ryan, AIA Leed AP, President, Ryan A + E, Inc.

When Snow Kreilich Architects and Ryan A+E teamed up to design the CHS Field, the goal was to create the greenest ballpark in America. Which they accomplished by incorporating an aggressive storm water management system, installing a record-sized solar array and building the new structure on crushed concrete made from the demolition of the existing building.

The awarding-winning design firms also put a lot of focus on respecting the historical designation of the area, providing spectators with additional views of the surrounding bluffs, and of course, setting the stage for the notoriously carnival-like atmosphere of St. Paul Saints games.

SCIENCE OF SOUND: The T&G WRC on the exterior and interior is spaced to allow for acoustic control.

SCIENCE OF SOUND: The T&G WRC on the exterior and interior is spaced to allow for acoustic control.

Once again, mission accomplished. Interestingly though, the greatest attention-grabbing feature of this design is not their ingenuity, but rather their choice in building material. “By far and away, the Western Red Cedar ceilings at the ballpark are the most talked about aspect of the park,” says Andrew Dull, lead designer of CHS Field.“Most ballparks have a utilitarian expression: exposed structural steel, metal decks or concrete is the typical experience. So using Western Red Cedar for the entire ceiling brings an intimacy and warmth that is unique to ballparks.”

In their search for a natural, sustainable, low-maintenance building material, they considered other woods. But none seemed to possess the deep richness of WRC’s celebrated colors.

BALLPARK BEAUTY: Western Red Cedar helps set the stage for the theatrical vibe that Saints games are renowned for.

BALLPARK BEAUTY: Western Red Cedar helps set the stage for the theatrical vibe that Saints games are renowned for.

“We looked at Douglas Fir, but found the warmth of Western Red Cedar to be more appropriate than the hues of Douglas Fir, and the client agreed,” says Dull. “Also, although not forested in Minnesota, cedar is common to the area and has a local feel that the community can more easily relate to.”

Furthermore, as Dull explains, the look and feel of WRC doesn’t just suit the surrounding area, but the game itself.

“There is something about the Western Red Cedar that feels appropriate to baseball — the natural quality of it ties to the leather of the baseballs and gloves, the red picks up the red clay of the fields and, of course, the wood of the bats.”

 

WRC Specs
Grade: KD Clear Heart VG
Size: 1×6 T&G cedar paneling
Fastening: Blind nailed
Applied Finish: Clear