I’m not a big (American) football fan these days, but I did happen to catch a bit of the San Francisco 49ers first home game at their new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The Niners have moved from San Francisco’s Candlestick Park into the heart of Silicon Valley, a stones-throw from the headquarters of companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook that are at the cutting edge of technological innovation and cultural change.
Supposedly, Levi’s Stadium utilizes cutting edge technology, but visually it’s a total bore, even dare I say ugly. It looks like a clunky, generic college football stadium that was built in the 20th century. So much for hoping for a beautifully designed and innovative 21st century stadium – in the heart of the most technologically advanced region in the world.
You’d have to go to Munich for something like that. Pictured above is the Allianz Arena, designed by architects Herzog & De Meuron, who also designed the Beijing National Stadium with artist Ai Weiwei, and museums such as San Francisco’s de Young and London’s Tate Modern. It’s home to Munich’s two football (soccer) teams, Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich. The inflated cells that cover the exterior change color for each home game – to red for Bayern and blue for TSV 1860. The exterior can also morph into other colors and patterns for various events. Now that’s what I call an uber stadium – the type we should expect in a place called Silicon Valley.