By Romi Cvitkovic
The United States Tennis Association announced today that the current U.S. Open facilities in Flushing Meadows, NY will undergo massive $500 million renovations to include two new stadiums and a practice court viewing deck, but still no roof built over Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Key points in the overhaul:
- Louis Armstrong Stadium: the second largest stadium after Ashe will go from a capacity of 10,000-seats to 15,000-seats, and keep its current location in the Northeast corner of the grounds
- Grandstand: currently housed directly east of Armstrong, will be torn down and placed in the southwestern corner slightly expanding the grounds. The number of seats will go up to 8,000 from the current 6,000
- Practice and Northwest courts: the practice courts will get an upgrade in the form of a new, elevated viewing platform between the five redone practice and three new tournament courts
- New walkway on Southern courts: in order to accommodate fan movement between the new Grandstand court and Court 17 which was built just last year, the southern row of courts will all be moved 30-50 feet further south.
And speaking of Court 17, it was built by Rossetti Architects, the same architects expected to continue in the renovations of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. They have also built four other tennis centers in the U.S., including two for Masters Series tournaments at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park (home of the Sony Open) and Indian Wells Tennis Garden (home of the BNP Paribas Open).
What is of note though, is that artist renderings from the Rossetti Architects’ website bring up a few interesting observations:
- Their rendered photo below seems to be of the new proposed Grandstand court meant to be housed in the southwestern corner. But if you look closely, the date on the side of the stadium states “2009.” There is, however, no visual reference to a Court 17 on the opposite southern corner of the grounds and built last year. Was this photo actually another version of where Court 17 was supposed to be, and not Grandstand as is proposed now?
- Don’t believe my skepticism? Well, look at this photo. Armstrong and Grandstand as they stand now are fully seen here (top right corner), there is no Court 17 in the southeastern corner (bottom right), but a “new” court in the southwestern corner looks eerily similar in placement and shape to the new proposed Grandstand court. Also, notice anything different with Ashe stadium? Yes, there is this strange contraption called a “roof” over the entire stadium. How did that happen and where did it go?
- A closer look at the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof rendering:
A New York Times article today cited that “despite years of consultations with engineers, the [USTA] has not found the lightweight, cost-effective technology that is needed [to build a roof over Ashe]. One rejected idea for a roof included resting one on columns surrounding the stadium.” The above photo seems in line with that quote, but if an architectural firm can draw it, you would think they could build it. You would think wrong, apparently.
Check out the National Tennis Center Over the years, and the USTA’s full strategic vision of the US Open facilities’ renovation expected to take the next several years: