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wolverine

Ford Field

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wolverine    0

WELCOME TO FORD FIELD (Part I)

Already seen this portion? Click Here to Go On to Part II

Welcome to my in-depth tour of Ford Field, home of the NFL Detroit Lions. I will show you places that you would not normally see if you visited the stadium, or ever saw it on TV.

Completed in 2002 Ford Field's main purpose is to bring the Lions back to downtown Detroit, and give fans an experience like no other. When the Pontiac Silverdome was built in the 70's, its primary function was to seat as many people as possible, and get people in and out as soon as possible. It is a general consensus that Silverdome is not much of spectacular structure. Walking through its now empty concourses yields nothing but reinforced concrete beams and sheet metal walls. When the Ford Family proposed to build a new downtown stadium, they wanted to provide something else for the fans besides a football game. The Fords invisioned a stadium with decorative concourses, shopping, and restaurants all surrounded by classic Detroit architecture and basked in natural light.

The site of this stadium today is next to the Detroit Tigers home, Comerica Park. Formerly a part of the decaying neighborhood of Brush park, nearly everything was leveled. The only structure left to stand was a massive seven story warehouse owned by Hudsons. Built in 1920, the warehouse served its purposes until recent years when there had been plans for its demolition. However this building became a point of interest to the architects of Ford Field. It is from that building, that the rest of Ford Field was designed. The warehouse would provide a piece of Detroit history within a state of the art facility.

Before I go on to the tour, many of these photos have been taken over a period of two years. The older ones were taken on a tour of the stadium while I was still in high school. There will be a part two to this section where the lockerooms, field, and press and media levels will be explored. For now, Part I will cover the main level concourse, atrium, and club level.

Now let's begin the tour!

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This is where most fans enter Ford Field. The glass wall gives fans in the seating bowl a clear view of the Detroit skyline and also adds natural light.

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Looking down Brush Street, a totally unrecognizable view from what it looked like 5 years ago.

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Upon entering the stadium, fans are greeted by an enourmous lower bowl seating area, as well as a massive steel ceiling. The large fans directly above help eliminate smoke and exhaust from vehicles and pyrotechnics.

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Here is another shot showing the large ceiling supported by one of the four main columns. The bubbles on the Pepsi advertisement actually light up. This display will be shown in part II

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A winding walkway in the glass atrium

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The Leapin' Lion

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To the left, the field and main concourse, to the right is the grand atrium. These large brick structures are the old warehouse. The portion where the grand atrium is, was actually carved out from the building. The narrow section of the warehouse you see straight ahead is where the club suites are. I also like that cool sign seen toward the bottom of the photo. That was recently added this past year.

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The front of the Roar and More official team store. This picture shows an excellent view of the old warehouse facade, best illustrated by the arched windows.

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Looking down the main concourse. The sign claims it as the former route of Adams St.

Just a note about the facility: The stadium is kept extremely clean. According to the tour guide, the stadium is alway being cleaned, even if there hasn't been an event. Carpets are vacuumed every day. Bathrooms are scrubbed every day, even if they haven't been used in a week. The smallest scraps of garbage are swept up immediately. Everything from glass to concrete was so spotless, it was probably safe to eat off of.

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This street scene area joins the field concourse to the atrium.

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Light is cast on the lower level of the grand atrium by openings in the floor above. The reinforced concrete beams are original from 1920, now to support the stadium for years to come.

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The back of the Roar and More. Many of the other establishments yet to go up on the lower level will have a similar type of street facade.

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Looking up at the club level terraces.

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A full view of the atrium.

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Brick and concrete meets steel and glass.

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Now we're up on the third floor of the club level. The elevator lobby features these beautiful wood floors. You would never find this in the Silverdome!

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Looking in the other direction

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Looking back at the elevator lobby and spiral staircase.

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Here is an area deep inside the 3rd floor club level. The level beneath houses the Lions' Administrative offices. The floors above with the foggy windows are office space now available to lease. Behind me is the Hall of Legends. But because the large transfer of bandwidth would kill our 56K users, I left it out.

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The suites were so big, I could not fit the entire room in the photo. Shown here is a small kitchenette. I really like the way they left the original ceilings exposed. Also, the floors were so well polished that the guests on the tour were worried to scuff them.

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Every Lions fan should know who this guy is!

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Another view of the club level.

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A good eye will tell you there is something wrong with this photo.

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This is one spot where the stadium designers truly went the extra mile. The seats in this area are very comfortable and luxurious. Supposively the same design as one of the seats in a Ford luxury vehicle. The brick facade of the warehouse is also quite evident. The lighter colored brick is actually new. Steel supports have been added to support the load of the seating section above.

Also take notice to the railings. Although you can't see it, they are actually capped with a metal stamping of the Lions' logo. These have been put on railings across the entire stadium. I feel bad for the guy who had to install all of them!

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Concluding part I is this amazing shot of Detroit cityscape through the glass wall. It is obvious this image is old because there is snow on the ground. If you look to the left of the photo, you will see the Elwood grill which was threatened by demolition twice before it was permanently moved to this location. Today, it makes more business than it can handle! To the right is Comerica Park, home of the Tigers.

COMING SOON!! PART II

Lions and visitors' lockerooms, tunnels, press and media levels, field.

INTERESTING STADIUM FACTS

The dome and surrounding areas are constructed of sound-absorbent steel. You cannot hear your voice echo.

The steel beams that support the dome are over 90 feet in height.

The basement of the stadium has a lot of wasted space, much of this area is compensated by halls and stairways that lead to specific parts of the stadium so that players after signing autographs or security can move to different levels quickly. The Lions lockeroom can be easily accessed by an unattended elevator (during non-game days) beneath the escalators. Pushing the down button will take you to the main tunnel to the field which is just across from the lockeroom entrance. This is nothing really secret, because it was used for fans to get back to the main concourse level during the draft day event.

PART II OF FORD FIELD

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Allan    0

Awesome pics! I must say I am very impressed. Having never been actually inside Ford Field, I knew that it was nice, but I didn't know it was that nice! The architects definately went the extra mile. Now if only the Lions could get better....

I almost took a tour of Ford Field the last time I was downtown, but I chose to take additional pics of downtown again. I may go take the tour in a few weeks if I think of it.

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wolverine    0

Has anyone picked up yet what is wrong with the picture in the photo, third from the bottom?

Ford Field is truly an amazing structure. I hope to actualy see a game there sometime, but tickets are hard to get. I hope to have part two up soon. I'm sure you all will like that portion because it's more behind the scenes!

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Allan    0

Haha, I'm glad I didn't look at that pic for too long then, because I don't think I ever would've figured out that it was reversed. LOL.

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