While construction will continue throughout the year, Wrigley Field renovations reached a turning point last weekend when fans were finally allowed into the new sections of the outfield. The new video screens have, predictably, drawn most of the attention of Cubs' faithful and architecture critics but the other additions and alterations may prove to be the more significant changes, for good or bad, to the classic ballpark. In a review of the project in Crain's, critic Edward Keegan gives VOA Associates an overall solid grade for their work, but isn't too happy with the way the new bleachers change the character of Wrigley, calling them "too big, expensive and faux proletarian."
Keegan's complaints boil down to changes that take away some of the character of the classic structure. In addition to blocking neighboring buildings, which severs a tie between the ballpark and traditional Chicago architectural elements, the new supporting structures alter the classic, early 20th century industrial feel of Wrigley in a big and blunt fashion, "the design equivalent of the Dan Ryan or Kennedy expressways slicing through old Chicago neighborhoods." He does point out that VOA's changes to the concourse, extensions of public space and new restrooms will improve circulation and heighten the visitor experience and the ballpark. But some of Wrigley's unique style, he says, has been lost.
· What the Wrigley Field renovations got right—and wrong [Crain's]
· With right-field bleachers open, Wrigley Field whole again [Tribune]
· Here Now, Images of Wrigley Field's Completed Bleachers [Curbed Chicago]