The Astros Green Wall at Minute Maid Park
Published October 29, 2021
Let’s take a moment to talk about branding. Branding can mean a lot, from the appearance of a logo, to the color scheme of a room, and the way in which it’s executed goes a long way to color your perception of the brand. For example, there’s a notable difference in perception between a sticker and an engraving. A sticker of a logo or brand mark shows no depth of thought, and no consideration for context. It can be applied virtually anywhere for a trivial cost, and is most often met with a response of disinterest or dubiousness. An engraving, however, takes time, effort, and planning to implement. As a result, more time is spent considering the engraving, appreciating its origin, process, and simple beauty, and ultimately that amounts to more time spent internalizing your brand. That was our broad philosophy when working with Minute Maid Park to build the Houston Astros branded green wall.
We wanted to create a brand wall for the Houston Astros worthy of attention and appreciation that didn’t distract from the real star of the show - baseball. That meant the wall needed to balance visual intrigue with subtlety in a delicate way that inspired awe, but never pulled attention away from the athletes. Fortunately, artificial greenery is exactly suited to that use case. Greenery and foliage is such a common sight that our brains are rarely distracted by its presence, so that when not focused on the branding wall, its features and details are effectively invisible. However, by the same token, focusing on the branded green wall inspires awe by bringing attention to the orderliness and composition of the star logo, as its straight lines and manicured appearance buck the expectation of what you’d find in nature.
Our first major challenge was making the artificial green wall feature feel like more than a sticker. To accomplish this, we needed total coverage - the green wall had to spread across the entire surface. In this way, the green wall feels integrated with the space; like less of an afterthought, and more a part of the spatial structure. We also wanted to create visual consistency in the space - for which other minor artificial greenery features were included around other signage. Finally, we had to build a large seamless artificial green wall, while utilizing contrasting shades of foliage. PermaLeaf® artificial ivy and artificial boxwood mats made perfect candidates, as they’re able to link together seamlessly to create a logo that reads clearly at great distances.
VISUAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE
A visual connection between people and nature is often the top priority in our work. With Minute Maid Park’s retractable roof, we knew that this feature would sometimes be an accompaniment to a big blue sky, but would also sometimes be the only natural element visible within the space. In the first case, the branded green wall serves as a point of connection between the constructed space and a natural exterior, where the UV-resistant PermaLeaf® foliage would be exposed to sun and wind, reacting as natural foliage would, but without decay. At other times, when the roof is closed, the artificial green wall becomes the primary representation of nature, acting as a lifeline to promote feelings of freshness and comfort for those within.
COMPLEXITY AND ORDER
The success of the branded green wall is owed to its simple design philosophy. By isolating the Astros lone star logo within a wall of bright green, it becomes a much more effective branding effort. In a stadium buzzing with action, with thousands of fans moving about and a game unfolding on the field, the branding wall is a largely flat, calm ocean of green that breaks from complexity, with a static logo at its center, attracting attention by contrast of action.
Baseball stadiums are an excellent example of Prospect within a built space. The stadium is of course built entirely on the premise of prospect - that is, the central action of the event must be visible from every point within the space. That’s why this was also the prime location for branding and advertising, as thousands of fans will be seated here for hours at a time with a perfect view of the green wall.
The goal of the project was to create a feature that the fans could rally around, build hype over, and appreciate while supporting their team. While the high-level discussion of design philosophy may seem theoretical, the practical benefits of visibility, order, and natural appeal come out in a way that is immediately evident in a green wall feature that now defines a large portion of center field on the Astros’ home turf.