From Al Austin to Ed Turanchik to Bill Edwards, there’s no shortage of community and business leaders in Tampa who think big. And while nobody has any idea how to fund a new $600 million retractable-roof stadium without new tax money here, stadium expert/blogger Matthew Brown points me out to new revolutions in architecture – REALLY big ideas – that could render retractable roofs obsolete.
One of the big factors in Qater winning the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup bid was how it comforted fears about its uber-hot summer temperatures. Basically, they are going to create shade and then air-condition their open-aired stadiums.
"But that would use an incredible amount of energy," you may think.
Except Wolfgang Kessling thinks Qater can harness the incredible energy of the sun to power the entire stadium. The plan is to use solar cells to provide shade, while using cooling pipes with chilled water to cool the stadium; kind of like how a hockey rink cools its ice.
If this technology can work in Qater, it could certainly work here in the "Sunshine State." And if scientists continue to make advances in solar-powered energy, there's no reason a stadium like that couldn't help pay its own bills by creating electricity.
Brown also says Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand (not to be confused with Dunedin, Fla.) could the model for a new Rays stadium. It’s the world's only natural grass, fully-enclosed stadium, resembling a greenhouse more than it does what Americans are used to.
Could a glass roof work in Tampa Bay? Why not? It could certainly displace costly retractable-roof techonology.