It may just be a coincidence that the Cleveland Indians' emergence from their decades-long slump followed the opening of their new baseball stadium. Perhaps the Indians would have revived and thrived in the old Municipal Stadium, nicknamed "the Mistake by the Lake." Still, the fact remains that since Jacobs Field opened in April 1994, the team has played like never before, rising like a phoenix to capture three division championships and compete in two World Series.

Indisputably, the majestic 43,368-seat stadium, known affectionately as `The Jake,' has helped inspire the Indians and mirrors their phenomenal success. The reinforced masonry and structural steel facility also symbolizes Cleveland's proud heritage and emerging strength. Occupying 12 acres, Jacobs Field is part of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex, which includes the Gund Arena (where the Cleveland Cavaliers play). Owned by the Gateway Economic Development Corp., the complex was funded through the sale of bonds, a luxury tax on alcohol and cigarette sales, private investments and prepaid leasing on luxury seating. Leased by the Cleveland Indians organization, The Jake is truly an urban ballpark, built within the boundaries of three main streets in downtown Cleveland--Ontario to the west, East 9th to the east and Carnegie to the south.

Upon entering the stadium, baseball fans are rewarded with a panoramic view of the playing field, which lies 18 feet below street level. The field measures 325 feet down each line, 405 feet in dead center, 375 feet to the right-field alley and 370 feet to the left-field alley (Reference). The stadium boasts many superlatives, such as the largest freestanding scoreboard in the United States, which features a full-color instant-replay video board. (For more information on Jacobs Field, visit

Starting lineup: the materials Designed by HOK Sports Facilities Group, based in Kansas City, Mo., the $130-million project contains more than $13 million of masonry work, including clay brick, concrete masonry, granite, Indiana limestone and Kasota stone. Jacob Field's structure is poured concrete up to the main concourse but consists mostly of tubular steel 2 feet in diameter--a series of trusses, wide flange sections and beams.

Rising 15 feet from the ground, decorative bands of stone animate the exterior perimeter. At the base is a band of dark green granite about 4 feet high. Then come alternating bands of pumpkin-colored Kasota stone (1 foot, 6 inches high) and gray Indiana limestone (4 feet high). Above the stonework, the architects specified an orangy tan-colored brick, relieved by windows proportioned to resemble those in the turn-of-the-century brick buildings nearby. With approximately 490,000 units laid, this brick also is used on the stair and elevator towers and the administration building.

Although present throughout the facility, concrete masonry units are used decoratively in the concourses--in a striated pattern that echoes the exterior banding. A band of medium-gray burnished block forms the base of these walkways. The gray is topped by a band of buff split- face block, followed by a band of white burnished block, then another band of the buff split-face- -the banding rising 7 feet. Above this pattern is an expanse of white-painted standard gray CMUs, selected for economy. Altogether, the project required 80,000 burnished block, 40,000 split-face block and about 750,000 standard gray block.

Aesthetic considerations Brick often is used for baseball stadiums to provide that feeling of tradition associated with "America's favorite pastime," notes HOK's James Chibnall, lead designer for Jacobs Field. But Richard Jacobs of The Jacobs Group, the owner of the Cleveland Indians, wanted the stadium to represent more than nostalgia, more than a reverence for history. Unlike Baltimore's widely acclaimed Camden Yards, with sand-molded brick intended to look "aged" and traditional details, Jacob Fields would not "emulate the old-fashioned." The Jake would be a modern facility celebrating Cleveland's strength and heralding a future full of possibilities.

Thus, HOK opted for a predominantly exposed steel design for the state-of-the-art stadium, with round steel columns adding to its contemporary ambience. The steel structure also represents the city's industrial might and vigorous growth, as do the 19 vertical light towers rising 200 feet above street level, which allude to both smokestacks in the industrial zone and highrise office buildings downtown.

While Jacobs Field incorporates a substantial amount of masonry, it is used primarily as a framing element rather than the dominant material. Large expanses of brick on the stair and elevator towers frame various views from the stands, "like bookends," Chibnall says. To add to the modern look, "there is not a lot of ornate detail" in the brick. Still, "you have the brick's textured surface against a refined steel structure," he explains, a juxtaposition that links the past with the future, rejoicing in the present.

The brick and stone masonry on the ballpark's perimeter express Cleveland's rich masonry tradition and allow The Jake to blend in with the downtown cityscape. "The color of the brick matches that on the City Market Building" and reflects the pumpkin color of the Kasota stone, says Chibnall. This continuity extends to the concourses, where the striped pattern refers to the exterior perimeter and the concrete masonry colors and textures complement those of the brick and stone.

Much thought went into the selection of the materials, which work together to evoke a sense of heritage and renewed vitality, applying to both the city and the Cleveland Indians. But in addition to aesthetics, performance played a crucial role in material choice.

Moisture challenge One of the designers' key concerns was preventing moisture penetration. The open concourses, for example, are exposed to wind-driven rain, common in northeast Ohio. The facility also is hosed down after each game to clean the dust off the walls. Consequently, the designers decided to specify Type I concrete block for this project instead of the more common Type II units.

While Type II block can be 100% saturated, Type I block are "moisture controlled," with a 40% limit on moisture content in the Cleveland area, explains Rick Knapper, director of architectural sales for Akron Brick & Block Co., the project's CMU supplier. (See ASTM C 90 Standard Specification for Loadbearing Concrete Masonry Units.) Since concrete masonry shrinks as it dries out, Type I block is intended to minimize shrinkage. This block is kept dry in the plant and protected during transport in inclement weather.

To save money and time, the architects favored single-wythe CMU construction over a cavity-wall system. To make such a system water-resistant, they specified integral-water- repellent block (along with a complementary mortar additive). They were assured of the system's performance when the National Concrete Masonry Association's laboratory conducted a wind- driven rain test on a sample wall section, in accordance with ASTM E 514 Test Method for Water Penetration and Leakage Through Masonry. The integral-water-repellent wall system performed successfully in the water-permeancy test for single-wythe concrete masonry walls, Knapper notes. (See also "Integral Water-Repellent Systems," November 1994, pages 514-516.) Installing flashing in a single-wythe wall requires a special detail at the flashing locations. Instead of an 8x8x16-inch unit, two 4x8x16-inch block are used, one in front of the other. The flashing begins at the top of the rear block, drops down the face of this block, then turns under the front block, extending to the edge. Cotton cord was used for weep holes, every 16 to 24 inches. The system was reinforced and grouted at 4 feet on center to resist wind loads.

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