Baltimore, MD 21201
Prior to Camden Yards, the predominant design trend of big league ballparks was the symmetrical "multi-purpose stadium". Memorial Stadium, the Orioles' home since they moved from St. Louis in 1954, was an early example of such a design.
In 1984, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis, in part because Baltimore and Maryland officials refused to commit money for a replacement for Memorial Stadium. Not wanting to risk losing the Orioles—and Baltimore's status as a major-league city in its own right—city and state officials immediately began planning a new park in order to keep them in town.
The master plan was designed by international design firm RTKL. The stadium design was completed by the architectural firm HOK Sport (now Populous), which had pioneered retro ballparks on the minor league level four years earlier with Pilot Field in Buffalo, New York.
HOK Sport's original design was very similar to the new Comiskey Park. However, at the urging of architectural consultant Janet Marie Smith, the Orioles turned it down, preferring a retro-style park. Smith had been hired by Orioles President and CEO, Larry Lucchino, to represent the team as Orioles VP of Planning and Development in the design of the ballpark. The Baltimore-based firm Ashton Design was brought on to the project to develop the signage, graphics, illustrations and logos that dot the stadium, as well as the 19th-century style clock above the scoreboard. Ashton's vintage designs, which echo the team's turn-of-the-century origins, proved influential, and the firm was called upon to complete similar retro redesigns of Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium.
Construction began in 1989 and lasted 33 months. Former Orioles owner Eli Jacobs favored naming the new field Oriole Park, while then-Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer favored Camden Yards. After considerable debate, a compromise was reached and it was decided that both names were to be used.