Getting to CHS Field

One of the Best in the World, CHS Field Receives 2016 AIA Institute Honor Award

ST. PAUL, MN January 15, 2016



ST. PAUL, MN (January 15, 2016) – For the first time in the 67 years of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) a minor league ballpark has received one of the distinguished AIA Institute Honor Awards.  CHS Field, which opened to rave reviews in 2015, is one of 18 projects that will receive the industry’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design at the National Convention and Design Exposition in Philadelphia May 19-21.


          CHS Field was one of 18 award winners among more than 500 submissions world-wide.  A number of entities were instrumental in the building and design of the ballpark including Snow Kreilich Architects, Ryan Companies and AECOM in conjunction with the St. Paul Saints, the City of Saint Paul and the state of Minnesota.  The 7,210 seat ballpark recently received an Honor Award from the Minnesota chapter of the AIA in early December.

          "This award and recognition is such an honor, and I continue to be so pleased and appreciative of the efforts of our entire team that helped bring this innovative and cutting edge ballpark design to Saint Paul,” said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

          The uniquely designed ballpark in Lowertown, Saint Paul, CHS Field is just the sixth sports venue to receive the AIA Institute Honor Award joining San Diego Stadium (CA, currently Qualcomm Stadium), Carver-Hawkeye Arena (IA), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (MD), Jacobs Field (OH, currently Progressive Field) and Honk Kong Park (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China).

“The Saints couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the vision for CHS Field,” said Saints Executive Vice President Tom Whaley.  “We’re grateful for all the hard work and perseverance of the design team and our partners, the City of Saint Paul and State of Minnesota. From the start, our hope was that the design would reflect and complement the architectural brilliance of our neighborhood. This award is a tribute to that hope. We still pinch ourselves every time we walk through the gates.”        

          The distinctive design of the ballpark goes from an urban landscape on the Broadway side of the ballpark to a natural setting as you move towards the left field side.  CHS Field uses the urban landscape to blend in with the Lowertown area.  The western red cedar wood soffit provides a strong visual design element across the concourse and the black pillars are similar to what one would see inside Lowertown lofts.  The Treasure Island grass berm in left field, along with The Lawn picnic area just behind the berm, give a natural look as you move towards the Bruce Vento Nature Preserve beyond the ballpark.   


Wherever possible, the stadium is porous, opening itself to the life of the blocks around it.  The main entrance frames the termination of Fifth Street, creating a vital connection to that core via an axial view along the street to the historic St. Paul Hotel.  The sleek, low ballpark offers powerful views to the surrounding structures, many of them warehouses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

CHS Field offers plenty of unique views, with its 360 degree concourse allowing fans to walk around the entirety of the ballpark.  There is the gorgeous sight of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary to the east, sandstone bluffs along the Mississippi River to the south and the skyline of downtown Saint Paul to the west.


There isn’t a bad seat at CHS Field and fans took in the beautiful view from a number of different areas.  The Securian Club, located on the second level of the ballpark on the first base side, is an indoor/outdoor area that is used by season ticket holders during Saints games and can be rented out on non-game days.  The 262 seats on the outside of the Securian Club come with padded seats, both on the bottom and back, for a relaxing experience.


The Treasure Island Berm in left field is an area where fans can bring blankets, lay back and take in a Saints game.


Groups attending Saints games had a multitude of areas to choose from, including the Treasure Island Terrace, a multi-tiered area down the right field line, the Star Tribune Skybox, located on the second level behind home plate and a nightly suite.


          The design isn’t the only way the ballpark fit in with the area.  With a large art contingent in Lowertown, the Saints have been lauded for the incorporation of art in the ballpark.  CHS Field features an area behind home plate, The Gallery, which displays the artwork of various artists each night.  The famous mural from Midway Stadium, the one painted by Andy Nelson that fans could see upon entering the gates, was recreated and placed on a wall in The Gallery along with other murals around the ballpark.  Futures North built an exceptional piece of art in front of CHS Field, titled Meander.  The piece represents the physical and electronic visualization of data collected about the Mississippi River between headwaters at Lake Itasca and the Minnesota state line.


In an effort to make CHS Field the Greenest Ballpark in America, presented by Ecolab, there were several measures taken to make this a reality.  A 27,000 gallon cistern behind the centerfield concourse captures 30,000 SF of rainwater.  The water was reused for fixture flushing and playing field irrigation.  A 102.5 kW solar array supplies 12% of the ballparks energy demand in addition to acting as a shade pavilion in The Lawn group sales area. This is one of the largest in stadium arrays in professional sports. 


The ballpark also exceeded the Americans with Disability Act accessibility standards.  With a total of 70 wheelchair spaces plus 70 companion spaces distributed throughout the ballpark, CHS Field doubled the 0.5% ADA requirement.  In addition, there are a total of 180 semi-ambulant seats, which provide a minimum of 24 inches of leg room for spectators with limited mobility. 


CHS Field set numerous attendance records throughout the year.  Opening Day saw 8,592 pass through the gates to experience the ballpark and crowds continued to pour in all summer.  The Saints surpassed their single-game franchise record when they drew 9,960 on July 4.  That record didn’t stand for long as 10,430 took in the August 20 game.  In all, the Saints shattered the American Association record for attendance (297,834 set by the Saints in 2007) as they drew 404,528.  The Saints averaged 8,090, 12th best in all of minor league baseball.  The team played to a season-long capacity of 112%, tops in the nation and more than 450,000 in its first year including additional events like the Grillfest, Summer Beer Dabbler, Dr. John Concert and Cat Video Festival.


          CHS Field becomes the 25th project in the state of Minnesota to be honored by the AIA joining other recipients such as the Walker Art Center, Mill City Museum, Landmark Center and Dayton House.


          Below is a list of the other AIA Institute Honor Recipients for 2016:

-American Enterprise Group - National Headquarters Renovation; Des Moines

-Case Inlet Retreat; Lakebay, Washington

-Asia Society Center; Admiralty, Hong Kong

-Henderson-Hopkins School; Baltimore

-Mariposa Land Port of Entry Expansion and Modernization; Nogales, Arizona

-Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Dallas

-Pterodactyl; Culver City, California

-St. Patrick’s Cathedral Conservation, Renovation & Systems Upgrade; New York City
-US Land Port of Entry; Van Buren, Maine
-WMS Boathouse at Clark Park; Chicago

-Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies; Washington, D.C.
-Milton Academy Pritzker Science Center; Milton, Massachusetts

-PivotApartment; New York City

-The Strand, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.); San Francisco

-Windhover Contemplative Center; Stanford, CA

-Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, University of Arkansas

-Smithsonian Institution South Campus Master Plan; Washington, D.C.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit