The design for Icahn Stadium transforms the southwest quadrant of Randall’s Island into “an accessible, well-organized, and increasingly self-sustaining sports and recreation center for the children and families of New York City.” The 200-acre island is located between the Harlem and East Rivers, where northern Manhattan meets Queens and the Bronx, affording stunning views of Manhattan.
The Scope: A First-Class Landmark
The project’s scope includes the demolition of Downing Stadium, the antiquated, existing 25,000 sf track and field facility. Hillier’s design creates a first-class track and field center that meets IAFF Competition Category 3 requirements and accommodates Olympic trial meets. Icahn Stadium features covered stadium seating for 5,000, support facilities for participants and spectators, and an additional 5,000 open bleacher seats. Also included in the scope is the provision for four soccer fields along with associated roads, walkways, lighting, and utilities. Architects primary goal involved creating a visually prominent and exciting stadium—a landmark that attracts users, particularly from across the river in Manhattan.
Signature Light Towers
The design establishes a strong signature identity with two 160-foot-high light towers that light the track and field at night. The two towers are located at opposite ends of the stadium and serve as structural supports for a series of suspension cables supporting a slim-profiled, slightly inclined, flat roof that appears to hover dramatically above the stadium seating. A structural bow truss gracefully arching from the base of one tower to a height of 75 feet at the center of the seating and back down to the base of the other tower stabilizes the suspension structure.
The stadium’s ground floor under the covered seating accommodates spectator and building support spaces, such as locker, training, and storage facilities. A broad staircase—supplemented by an elevator—provides separate spectator access to the upper-level concourse with public toilets, concession stands, and through-passageways to the spectator seating, oriented to provide panoramic views of Manhattan as well as excellent track and field sightlines. A press box is located at the highest seating level.