Soldier Field

Capacity63 500
Country United States of America
CityChicago
ClubsChicago Bears
Inauguration 26/09/2003
Construction 01/2002 - 09/2003
Cost $ 632 million
Design Wood & Zapata, Lohan Caprile Goettsch Associates
Contractor Turner, Barton Malow, Kenny
Address 425 East McFetridge Drive, Chicago, IL

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Description: Soldier Field

Construction of Chicago's central stadium just south of downtown was launched in 1919 and ended in 1924. Soldier Field name was adapted soon after as memorial to fallen American soldiers.

Its architecture was monumental from the start, corresponding with other buildings of Chicago's lakeside. The U-shaped outer walls were built in Greco-Roman style with tall Doric colonnades on both east and west sides.

Initially immitating ancient buildings, these walls became a national historical landmark themselves over time. With citizens used to the stadium's appearance, the proposal to rebuild Soldier Field in 2001 caused massive criticism.

Despite strong opposition the plan was carried out in a unique way – the outer walls were left intact, but all stands inside were rebuilt from scratch, growing well above the old structures. After reopening in 2003 the stadium still raised controversy, losing its national landmark status on one side, but on the other being awarded superiority in design excellence by the American Institute of Architects in 2004.

With stands closer to the pitch and steeper, fans received more comfortable viewing, while the asymmetric layout with dynamic corporate building in the east gave it recognition and revenue boost. Capacity fell significantly, however, from the initial 74,280 to 63,500 seats.

Since reopening in 2003 the stadium has been the home of NFL Chicago Bears, also anchor tenants of the previous ground. Temporarily also the MLS Chicago Fire played home games here, before moving to Bridgeview. Also the national team in football uses the stadium, taking from its rich 'soccer' heritage, to name only the 1994 World Cup played at the previous stadium.

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