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Design Direction Behind Jacksonville Jaguars’ Stadium Of The Future

May 03, 2023May 03, 2023

A rendering of the planned reimagining of the Jacksonville Jaguars' stadium by HOK.

Let's not call the stadium plans for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars a remodel. That's too small of a word for the effort. Instead, "it is a complete reimagining of the existing building," Bill Johnson, HOK Sports + Recreation + Entertainment design principal, tells me.

"We went into a fairly elaborate design process about how we could keep the bones and replace everything else," Johnson says, adding that Jaguars owner Shad Khan asked if he should start over with a new stadium or keep the existing TIAA Bank Field. "Absolutely keep it," Johnson says, "you have the infrastructure in a great location next to downtown. A remodel is a small word for what this really is."

Overhauling the 27-year-old city-owned structure as part of a multi-billion-dollar sitewide project meant checking off the list of concerns from fans in Jacksonville. At the top? Fan comfort and congestion.

An updated design includes new entries into widened concourses and a skin meant to lower ... [+] temperatures inside the venue up to 15 degrees.

"The primary concern was it is too hot," Johnson says. Entire sections of the building aren't usable early in the season because the seats are "miserable hot." The concourses are not only enclosed and tight, but they also get sizzling because of it. "It was a fan comfort issue from the very beginning."

To alleviate those concerns, HOK came up with a plan to use a first-of-its-kind skin across the entire building, including the roof, and a new design that opens the concourses to four times the width they are now.

Johnson calls the new ViewScape skin the next generation of ETFE, a version a bit sturdier and with greater span capabilities. The skin also takes coatings like what you'd find with sunglasses. "You can apply any amount of mirror or color or smoke that you would see in an optical sunglasses shop," he says. "We can apply that on this material."

A new ViewScape skin will cover the entire opening of the Jacksonville Stadium of the Future to help ... [+] reduce temperatures inside the venue.

The Jaguars say the skin will block 70% of heat gain in the building and drop temperatures up to 15 degrees compared to without the skin, yet fans will see out completely clear, just as if they were wearing sunglasses. The new mirrored ViewScape material will cover the entire stadium opening, with plans to tint the skin more heavily over the seats for improved comfort and leave it clearer over the field.

"We want to get the most fan comfort out of this as we can," Johnson says. "That was the number-one concern. It was too hot."

The façade will raise at the northern and southern ends to promote airflow inside the stadium.

Then came dealing with congestion. Currently, fans enter the venue at field level and then funnel up ramps and escalators 30 feet to the main concourse. And the second concourse doesn't wrap 360-degrees, forcing some fans back down to the main concourse.

A rendering of the plans to upgrade the NFL stadium in Jacksonville.

The fix involves bringing in Florida-themed gardens and berms on the outside of the stadium to gradually ease fans onto a main concourse that will be four times as wide and features views and lookout decks toward the city and St. Johns River. By moving fans off the field level, it also helps stadium operations by giving more space for back-of-house service needs. The second-level concourse will come fully connected and wider.

The Jaguars say the new concourse will include social bars and new culinary experiences, all part of 220 new food and beverage points of sale planned for the stadium.

The seating bowl gets reimagined with a new mix of seating types, designed for around 62,000 fans but expandable to over 71,000 for major events, such as the annual Florida vs. Georgia college football game. One thing that will remain in the bowl are the two scoreboards, but they will get connected around the perimeter, creating what Johnson calls a horizon board.

The new design features views from the opened concourses.

Along with a reimagined Stadium of the Future, as the team has dubbed the project, expect new development surrounding the site near downtown and along St. Johns River.

"Our objective has always been the same," Khan says, "lock in a promising future for the Jaguars and help our downtown become an economic engine to lift all of Jacksonville, particularly areas that have been underserved."

Just like renovating a house, Johnson says they can expect to run into unexpected issues when overhauling an existing building. "Dealing with existing construction and weaving in new foundations, columns and beams is going to be challenging, and I still think it is worth the effort rather than starting over."

The Jaguars have not released final plans on the timing of the project.

"Raising the concourse, the new material on the outside," Johnson says. "Those are some of the real big game-changers that are going to make it a lot better."