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Amy Schigel holds her 3-D rendering of the design for Fioptics District Rooftop bar at Great American Ball Park. photo/Cincinnati Reds
Home run designs
UC DAAP student brings a fresh look to an old sport designing the new tech-savvy Fioptics District at Great American Ball Park.
By Melanie Schefft
July 7, 2016
Cincinnati Reds fans are multitasking in a new “hip” interactive space at the ballpark this season thanks to a UC DAAP student, who impressed the club’s front office with her design skills.
Winding up the staircase above the new Cincinnati Bell Fioptics GigaBar, fans –– with refreshments in tow –– are now enjoying a 360-degree view of the city and baseball field from a pivotal point at Great American Ball Park (GABP), thanks in part to UC’s Amy Schigel, a third-year DAAP industrial design student.
Schigel turned a summer project creating 3-D designs into renderings of the new Fioptics District at GABP, now giving millennials a new social way to enjoy a baseball game.
“It’s been a decade-long dream of mine to turn an unused corner of the rooftop area over a concession stand into usable space for millennials,” said Phil Castellini, COO for the Cincinnati Reds. “But without the certainty of sponsorship or budget to take it any further, the area and concept for the idea remained in the initial design phase.”
It wasn’t until Castellini met Schigel at a social gathering in the summer of 2015, however, that his dream experienced a rebirth. He was immediately impressed with her creativity and overall designs for a student project she shared with him from a digital device.
“Even from the models on her cell phone I could see she had the potential to design something fresh and relevant,” said Castellini. “She instantly understood my vision for how to turn that unused space above the concession stand into a hip new space for the younger crowd, so I offered her the opportunity to add to her CV by creating 3-D renderings.
“I mean who better to design a space for millennials than a millennial?”
Schigel’s first task for the new space was to take the initial designs created by Jansen Dell, Reds director of Creative Operations, and turn them into 3-D renderings.
Her interpretations were a success. “Our team took Schigel’s renderings to MSA Architects for final production, a firm we have worked closely with since 1998,” said Castellini.
“I used a high-tech 3-D computer program to portray Jansen’s plans as realistically as a photograph so that we were able to show the sponsors the space and help them understand what Castellini and Dell were thinking,” says Schigel.
MSA used Schigel's renderings to help create illustrations for the façade and lounge areas. photos/MSA Architects/Chris Wiethe-Illustrator
Fans visiting the ballpark will see Schigel’s work on two elements of the Fioptics District: the façade of the Gigabar and layout of the Fioptics District Rooftop.
The Fioptics GigaBar is a walk-in bar (open to all fans) and is a showcase for Cincinnati Bell Fioptics with interactive displays and a virtual reality experience.
Fioptics District Rooftop –– located on top of the GigaBar –– features lounge furniture and a 15-foot video board while giving fans panoramic views of the downtown Cincinnati skyline. Fans can access the District Rooftop with a $15 Fioptics District ticket (which includes a drink).
Castellini says he prides himself on creating new profitable spaces that didn’t exist before, areas such as the Riverboat Deck, the tiers over both bullpens and the Frontgate Outdoor Luxury Suite.
“It’s always about trying to squeeze more revenue out of the ballpark, so an element of the project Schigel worked on is the roof area of a stair tower that served no purpose and generated no revenue,” says Castellini.
While the GABP’s smart new Fioptics District Rooftop may get its sponsorship from Cincinnati Bell, it is uniquely tied to DAAP in more ways than one.
Michael Schuster, DAAP ’81, head of MSA Architects is an architecture alumnus who has built his success around many of the fundamentals he learned as a DAAP student.
“Schigel’s work is talented, insightful and very reminiscent of the strong communication skills students are taught early at DAAP,” Schuster says.
MSA was hired as the architect for specific areas of GABP including the Machine Room Grille and the Pepsi Power Stacks home run feature. Since then, MSA has completed several other projects including the Fox Sports Ohio Champions Club renovation, the Game Day ProShop and a Fan Zone master plan. Schuster's firm is also well known around UC, where recent renovations include enhancements to Nippert Stadium for FC Cincinnati and the design for UC’s Sheakley Athletics Center.
“Understanding a client’s ideas and delivering those results is a fundamental part of the communication process that we learn to master at UC,” says Schigel. “That’s the most rewarding thing about design — to create exciting things that other people get to enjoy."