Since 1996, Frontier Field has been a place of enduring memories and a source of calm retreat from everyday life for many Rochesterians - who will now be able to gain a new experience of that same home.
In June 2011, Mark MacEwan of Spencerport approached the Red Wings organization regarding the potential of constructing a scaled replica model of Frontier Field. Mr. MacEwan, now 23, is a 2011 graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and a 2012 Master's degree graduate of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design. He has been a devoted hobbyist in the process of constructing replica stadiums on and off for the past several years, however this model is the first one to be completed at this large of a scale
After presenting some of his previous work to the organization in order to display his ability, he was given the acknowledgment to create the model, knowing that it would be accepted by the organization upon completion. "In a sense, this model really came about based more upon the years before it was actually built then the time in which it was actually built," MacEwan said. "I could not have just started with Frontier Field without developing a thinking hand first. In a sense, those that came before was really what allowed me to do this one, and to do it well."
Mark worked in periods from June 2011 to August 2011 before leaving for graduate architecture school in Ohio. Mark then did about another month worth of work in between fall and spring semesters, and then completed the remainder of the phases of the model from September 2012 to March 2013.
The timeline of work and final completion has aligned very well with the opportunities to publicly display the model. The Rochester Public Library hosted a traveling exhibit called "Pride and Passion" from April to June of this year, so that created a very convenient and appropriate time to allow the public to observe and enjoy this model while accompanying the rest of the original parts of the exhibition.
"I think that the public will really enjoy this piece," MacEwan. "As the builder, it is difficult to predict how it will turn out at the end because of the methods in which I work. Obviously I have plans and aim for accuracy, but at the beginning I do not know as much and am not entirely prepared for the work phases which I know will be at the end of the project - the roof overhang and the luxury suites, for example. When I started, I knew I would not have to worry about those entities for quite a long time. The model becomes...and every now and again and especially at the end of the work, you step back from it and see if it is going in the direction you hoped it would. I can say here, it wound up being far better than I even expected. The areas I felt would be the most challenging to construct came together and adjoined well."
After the end of the Public Library display in June, the model will be relocated to Frontier Field for permanent public display. While the permanent ballpark location of the model is yet to determined, it will be on display at suite level for the remainder of 2013. The model's materials prevent it from being exposed to weather, and the sheer size of the piece dictates a minimum amount of movement.
Says Mr. MacEwan: "The greatest gift I could receive from the efforts put forth in making this model a reality, is to have someone use the model as the medium to recollect a memory; ;to point out upon the model where you sat for a particular game, to remember the people you were there with, to think of a particular player who was in town that you went specifically to that game to see, how the stadium felt around you in each of its boundless places. In "Thinking Architecture" by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, he states 'Memories such as these contain the deepest of architectural experiences that I know.' And that is what I decided the broad theme of this replica model would be - memory."
An appropriate dedication of all work was derived from this model too. Based upon all that she has done, and all that she did specifically throughout the period of time in which the model was built (such as organizing two family weddings), Mark dedicated his work to his mother, Diane M. MacEwan, for her remarkable love and devotion to family and friends.
Mark is currently employed as an architectural technician at LaBella Associates, P.C. in Rochester, New York.
Click here for a photo gallery showing the stages of work on Mark's replica model of Frontier Field.