Renderings of new Buffalo Bills stadium show nod to the past

Renderings of new Buffalo Bills stadium show nod to the past

The Buffalo Bills’ stadium of the future is designed with a distinct nod to the past.

From the time we first heard of preliminary talks about a new Bills stadium, our team has been there to bring you news about the deal. Wrestling…

The team released its much-anticipated designs this morning for its new stadium, which will be built across the road from its current facility in Orchard Park.

The tall, strongly vertical structure is designed with a partial roof and a perforated metal exterior that allows fans approaching from the plaza to get a peek at the inside of the stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2026.

That exterior – or “skin,” as architects often call it – is designed in vertical sections that are reminiscent of mid-20th century Buffalo architecture, including Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Kleinhans Music Hall and War Memorial Stadium. The metal skin is met by a curved brick wall that is shorter – or in architectural jargon, “human scale” – and adjacent to the stadium’s entrances.

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In the plaza outside the stadium, an area called the “family circle” has a clan of buffalo statues, the largest of which appear to be at least two stories tall.

The partial roof, or canopy, provides coverage from precipitation for the majority of seats inside the stadium. The top of the stadium is designed with a shaped roof line — a slight curvature that gives it a futuristic look. On a functional level, that roof also will help drive Lake Erie winds over the facility, rather than inviting them to swirl around inside the bowl, as happens at Highmark.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s, surprised fans at the team’s home opener. Levy (with help from Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith) greeted the sold-out stadium with his classic pre-game quote: “Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?”

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The meshlike perforations will help absorb some of the wind, too, making the game day experience on stormy days a more comfortable one for quarterbacks and kickers – and fans.

The stadium design, which is still ongoing, was developed by architects from Kansas City-based Populous. Elements of the plans – including the canopy, stacked levels and slightly open exterior – can be traced to some of the newer Major League Soccer stadiums (particularly the Columbus Crew’s Field) and London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a soccer facility that was also built for use by the National Football League.

The sports consulting group Legends, which is co-founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, helped facilitate the development of the Bills ownership’s stadium vision, particularly for details that are still to be released: club and luxury seating, amenities, and sales program and pricing for personal seat licenses and season tickets.

The stadium design is based on a series of guiding principles that were developed through meetings with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, their family, and team executives. Those are divided into two sets:

• Belonging: “A culture of Bills fans, where they can be together as a community.”

• Pride: “A culture that lives and breathes for the Bills.”

• Generosity: “A culture that finds a place in their hearts to be generous.”

• Honor: “A culture that knows how to honor those that have graced the uniform and for those who cheer the loudest.”

• Respect: “A culture that respects the grounds built for them.”

• Football: “The place where every football fan wants to be, and the place every visiting team hates to play.”

• Functional: “The place where no one notices the things that make it function well.”

• Comfort: “The place where it feels warm and safe; safe enough for families!”

• Thoughtful: “The place every other NFL franchise will say, ‘Wow, they thought of everything!'”

• Experience: “The place where fans experience the loudest, vibrant, toughest, ground-shaking Bills football.”

Reaction to the designs, which have been in development for most of the last two years, arrived quickly.

Matt Davison, a founder of the 25-plus-member Business Backs Buffalo Football committee, issued a statement applauding the designs. It read, in part: “From crisp sightlines, an extended canopy and covered seats, to acoustics and access, this design has been shaped with the football fan in mind. At the same time, our committee looks forward to learning more about the advanced offerings and premium seating details that will attract current and new corporate sponsors and suite holders – which are essential to keeping the franchise economically viable in one of the league’s smallest markets.”


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