Sharon Fields

Photographs Jeff Goldberg/Esto

The Sharon Fields are the second and final phase of a Little League Baseball and Softball complex serving boys and girls from age 3 to 18 in Alleghany County, Virginia. The project includes two ball fields: one at 225’ and one at 300’, back stops, score boards, dugouts, field equipment storage rooms, press boxes and seating mounds.

The Fields are situated on a terraced hillside. The idea driving the organization and design of the project is that the fields themselves are the primary spaces and the “built” elements serve to reinforce the identity of the fields. To this end, each field inhabits its own terrace and the land is carved, rather than simply flattened. The resulting slopes and mounds both define the space and create elevated, informal vantages for spectators.

The dugouts are cool, white oak lined shelters from the hot summer sun. Their back walls are sliced, folded and skewed, creating benches and privacy screens for the players and coaches while inviting breezes and filtered light. The field equipment storage rooms are white cubes with full height, full width vertical axis bi-fold doors. When closed, they disappear into anonymity; when open they become extensions of the fields. The press boxes take the form of a single tower to maximize efficiency. The boxes themselves are expressed independently at the top of the tower, each prospecting its own field. Horizontal axis bi-fold doors rise on electric motors to create a shade canopy for the score keepers and perforated steel stairs allow natural light to filter deep into the concession stand at the tower’s concrete base. In the evening, points of white light emerge as a constellation on the oiled oak ceilings of all the buildings.

In this rich natural landscape, abstract forms and subtle details imbue the architecture with a peaceful presence, a magical atmosphere for family sports.

STUDENT TEAM Luke Dale, Mary Covert, Kevin Lee, Leah Hodgson, Hunter Stephenson, Lauryn Jean, Kayla Sloan, Casey Walker, Sarah Walker, Lily Zran Liu, Robert Riggs, Anuja Das, Sophia Hyuan Xie