I don’t usually like baseball. Living in Pittsburgh probably hasn’t helped, considering the Pittsburgh Pirates only recently ended their record-setting streak of consecutive losing seasons. Still, I have been to a few games at PNC Park, home of the Pirates, and it is the stadium itself that has won me over.
Typically, when I walk into situations where I am surrounded by large numbers of people, my insecurity kicks into overdrive. That doesn’t happen at PNC Park. There is something about the architecture, the look, the feel of it that won’t allow that to happen.
When I sit in the stands and see a breathtaking view of the city of Pittsburgh, a city I know and love, I feel at home. When Andrew McCutchen hits a home run, no matter how little I care about baseball at every other moment, I stand and cheer. I don’t think about what everyone else is thinking about me. I don’t worry about how stupid I look or if the cameras will zoom in on me and show me on the big screen. I just cheer.
PNC Park draws out pieces of who we were created to be and in the process makes me feel more human.
For most, this is all just part of the experience. For me, it’s a huge deal. And while I am sure the sport itself has something to do with it, PNC Park plays the biggest role. When I am there, I feel a sense of community. I am at home in a public place, sitting among 30,000 people I don’t know. I am part of something big, yet able to sit back and relax. Whether it is the views offered from the stands or the way it inconspicuously meshes with the rest of the city, PNC Park combines grandeur with community. It is designed to evoke senses of home and comfort, feelings of pride and excitement. It draws out pieces of who we were created to be and in the process makes me feel more human.
David Greusel, a TC contributor and the lead designer for PNC Park, once said, “We see architecture as having a significant impact on people’s lives.” He is right. He has, through designing a stadium, helped me become more secure. I think that is a big part of what God wants our work to be: significant, purposeful, life-giving.
On the first page of the Bible we learn that we are created in the image of the Creator. If ever there was something that speaks to the value and potential of work, this is it. God did not create everything; He didn’t create music or buildings. He created people, with the potential to be musicians and architects. God wants us to create. He put value and purpose into the fibers of our beings and He desires us to allow those things to enlighten and enliven our work. Doing so strengthens our identity and makes us more human, because it draws out pieces of who God created us to be. I don’t think God wants architects to build stadiums with Bible verses on the walls. I think He wants them to consider how they can build pieces of culture - such as PNC Park - that bring value to the human experience.