McLane Stadium, home to the Baylor Bears by Populous

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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McLane Stadium, a sports arena dedicated to American football, is nestled in Waco, Texas, and was finalized in August of 2014. The stadium is under the ownership and management of Baylor University and is the home ground of the Baylor Bears.

Intriguing facts about this stadium is that it is built on River Brazos, an engineering spectacle that has given Baylor University a legacy. Furthermore, it is built on a 93-acre site on Interstate 35, one of the nation's busiest highways, traversed by more than 42 million drivers annually.

Richard Justice, from USA Today’s Sports on Earth says, “it might be in the most beautiful setting of its sport.”

The stadium takes the dynamism of curvilinear forms as expected of any stadium. However, it incorporates different curves of varying radii, resulting in an organic composition that well suites its location on the river. From any angle one is able to point out undulating curves that seem to disappear into the horizon, building up the icon.

Fans can arrive at the stadium by car, foot and believe it or not, also by boat and tailgate in a cove that adjoins the stadium. The footbridge connects the stadium to the other institutional buildings of the University across the River Brazos. Students literally walk to the games and feel a sense of ownership of their new masterpiece.

Spectators and guests enjoy a magnificent riverfront view, right next to the River Brazos. The stadium itself is recognized as the anchor of development on the riverfront corridor in the state of Texas. The shades of green, brown and white not only represent the green from Baylor University's emblem, but the surrounding nature and river setting.

Ironically, first game at the stadium was a high school football game between Aledo High School and Cedar Park High School on August 29, 2014,  by Aledo.  However, the first college football game just two days later, which saw a remarkable 45–0 Baylor University win over Southern Methodist University. If Baylor had lost, that would have been a totally different story.

It features a bridge crossing the Brazos River and connecting the stadium to the campus, canopy shading for half of all seats throughout the day, open concourses with views directly into the stadium, suites, loge boxes, indoor and outdoor club seating, designated seating for Baylor students and the Baylor band, and an event center and Stadium Club for year-round use.
One interesting thing is that the canopy not only serves to shade the crowd but also holds in noise. With 50,000 spectators shrieking at a touchdown, I am sure the city of Waco appreciates the acoustic efficiency of this canopy.

Brick is a common material, characteristic of the buildings in Baylor. The wise architect did not overlook this.

The interiors feature double, tripple and even quadruple volume spaces with finishes that concide with the multi-million dollar budget.

Ramp for the physically challenged also features gallery space that honours great sportsmen in American Football.

Once again, a view from Interstate 35.

If you're a fan of stadium aesthetics, take a look at, Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest), a monumental and iconic structure in Beijing, China and U.S. Bank Stadium, an arena worth hosting super bowl.

Project Information

Architect: Populous
Location: Waco, Texas, United States
Completion: August 2014
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Owner: Baylor University
Construction Cost: $266 Million
Capacity: 45,140 (Expandable to 55,000)
Photography: Populous, Baylor.edu

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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