The atmospheric din of an airplane flying overhead. The distant roars of enthusiastic audiences and their captivating entertainment. The nearby rumbling of vehicles trudging along their commutes to distant lands. The City of Inglewood has always been a settlement historically grounded in its commodities.
Originally the hub of an agricultural area transformed into an urban community when industrial activity brought new workers and their families to the city. After experiencing decades more of development, the city of Inglewood began facing multiple challenges at once: a culmination of health, economic, and environmental crises.
Born from a desire to rejuvenate and revolutionize the highly industrialized built environment, SoFi Stadium’s and surrounding Hollywood Park development aims to seamlessly integrate and anchor the new 298-acre mixed-use campus to the city through a considerate departure from traditional stadium design: fostering diverse and inclusive partnerships with community organizations rallying around the common goal of enhancing the welfare of the public it serves. Through an extensive process of distilling public comments and infusing critical design ideas, SoFi Stadium’s landscape became a democratic open space supporting new green infrastructure, climate resiliency, habitat, and biodiversity that pays deference to the past while looking towards a progressive future for Inglewood.
Located on the remnants of a formerly decommissioned racetrack the project presented itself as a ripe opportunity to reconnect and stich together the community, physically, culturally, and ecologically. The stadium and adjacent lake park are the heart at the confluence of the greater open space framework, establishing a central destination within the overall development.
SoFi Stadium’s unmistakable architecture monumentally stands with its sweeping forms. Due to the FAA’s height restrictions, one of the project’s initial design challenges, the seating bowl became one of the most prominent features of the project sitting 100-feet below the existing grade. Studio-MLA responded with the creation of landscaped canyons, a series of paths, gardens, and patios that allow fans to experience the descent into the stadium while seamlessly integrating the stadium with its natural landscape while offering a unique experience for the users. A desire to reveal and honor the strata exhibited by shale rock of the Pico Formation inspired the composition of a series of layered interventions that pay homage to geological histories, experience the regenerative transformation of the site, and conceptualize past and future geologic narratives. The concept of fractured, layered rock creates a linear directionality throughout the site with distinct, fragmented landscape features that frame various sized spaces with varied program activities.
The team explored solutions to maintain a semi-porous boundary while retaining security. This resulted in fencing design gracefully dancing within bountiful planters, the varying heights and angles of steel pickets ebb and flow from planter to planter to emulate the cascading movement of the nearby shoreline. Portions of the white fencing hide inconspicuously within terraced planters acting as cohabitants among its verdant neighbors while also supplying a sculptural expression into the expansive landscape. Visitors are invited to interact with their geological context through the utilization, observation, and engagement of the landscape via 25 acres of open space featuring walking paths, plazas, gathering areas, and captivating water features.
Planting selection began with explorations into schemes that embraced the vegetation of the Mediterranean biome. The project includes highly diverse, low-maintenance plant ecologies with 5,000 trees, including desert acacias and sycamores found along arroyos and mountain evergreens.
To engender resiliency for the overall site, an assortment of rolling arroyos, bioswales, biofiltration planters, and underground cisterns were integrated throughout the site. The landscape features collect, treat, and reuse approximately 75% of total stormwater captured throughout the development. Lake Park, that has a 6-acre constructed lake that collects stormwater runoff, filters pollutants via natural wetlands, and supplies water to on-site irrigation. Pioneering water recycling systems for the region, the lake was the first to successfully mix stormwater with reclaimed water through a custom filtration system that enables reclaimed water supplied by a nearby recycling plant to be utilized as lake infill. Prior to construction, a “water laboratory” was established on-site for a six-month probation period to experiment with various methods and chemistries for the filtration of the water. The experimental filtration system developed helped ensure that the stadium’s water management systems were ecologically responsible and sustainable.
Architecture offices involved in the design: HKS Architects
Location: 1001 Stadium Dr, Inglewood, CA 90301
Design year: 2014
Year Completed: 2020