When 49ers first unveiled plans for their new, 69,000-seat stadium, they said the goal was to pay homage to area's mild weather and abundant sunshine with an open, airy stadium. After touring the mostly-built stadium this week, my impression was that they succeeded.
The two concepts that jump out most are light and space. For example, the suite tower on the west flank - the stadium's money maker - is built of glass on both the side that looks onto the field and the side that looks west toward the Santa Cruz Mountains. The main club in that tower includes a large atrium that spans the width of the suite tower. At the risk of going too high brow on you, it reminded me of newly built entrances to museums - the Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., for example - or even the newest airport terminals in which glass, natural light and large spaces replace artificial lighting.
The concourses have the same effect. They're reminiscent of the concourses at the newest baseball parks in that they're roomy - they average 63 feet in width -- and you never lose sight of the field. You could walk from the northwest corner of one end zone to the southwest corner of the other and watch the game the whole time. The spacious promenade on the northwest corner - where there will be a beer garden - also makes the stadium seem light and open.