Normally I am not big on nostalgia, but as this year’s Major League Baseball season winds down and the Texas Rangers prepare to pack up and move across the street to a new home, the question looms large: is the architectural beauty of the current stadium destined for the wrecking ball.
I certainly understand why the Rangers want a new stadium. For all of its wonders, Globe Life Park is open-air and in the summer heat of Texas, that was a poor design decision made back in the early 1990’s. Arlington is trying to make the most of the change – incorporating the new Globe Life Field (a modern air-conditioned building) into the mega-entertainment center Texas Live!
Unlike the normal traditionalist in Arlington, it does not bother me that we are getting an even larger, trendier, visitor-centric colossus. What bothers me is that Globe Life Park is an architectural beauty facing implosion. It is like someone tearing down the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth or the Guggenheim.
Globe Life Park was designed by David M. Schwarz’ architectural firm of Washington D.C., known for its rich, traditional designs. Schwarz also designed Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, a work of art in Texas limestone, with two 48-foot-tall angels standing guard at the corners. He knows how to make pretty buildings.
Of course, “traditional” was exactly the mood requested by the Rangers’ executives at the time. They wanted a retro stadium reminiscent of the old-time baseball fields like Ebbets Field and Comiskey Park, but interpreted with a twang.
Throughout Globe Life Park, there is a touch of Texas, but it is the exterior that speaks to me loudly every time I pass. There is a beauty and a heft to the red brick and pink granite exterior topped by green metal structures and graceful arches. Alternating with carvings of longhorn steer heads are a series of bas relief panels – representing historical moments for Texas and for the Texas Rangers.
There is a symmetry and serenity about the building that suits it to its surroundings – the narrow, winding Richard Greene Linear Park that runs along Johnson Creek. It is a building worthy of the ground where it rests, as a work of art unto itself.
Of course, the powers-that-be insist that the stadium will be re-purposed. One of several ideas that has been floated is the development of the park as a multi-purpose playing field flanked by office buildings and/or condos. I wish I could believe them – and I wish I could believe that the stadium’s architectural integrity would be preserved if its life were extended as part of Arlington’s head-long rush into mega-structures.
— Jonnie Martin