Pitch perfect

Fresh perspectives and flawless execution create a fans-first experience in Portland



Providence Park is home to the Portland Timbers and Thorns – two professional soccer teams with famously-passionate fan bases. Providence Park’s site – with a history as a sporting venue stretching back to 1893 – is as revered as the teams who play there. How would a renovation of this iconic cathedral to sport, located at the centre of the city, be realised? With fresh perspectives and flawless execution, that’s how.

Providence Park is one of the oldest stadiums in the Major League Soccer – and Peregrine Sports LLC wanted a renovation that respected this rich history. The stadium’s most recent expansion, unveiled in 2019, gave 4,000 extra fans the chance to watch the live action unfold. An innovative design by Allied Works added four new tiers of seating, protected by a 117-foot cantilevered roof, to the stadium’s east side. This provides dramatic views of the pitch while maintaining an airy arcade and street-level concourse along Southwest 18th Avenue.

At a glance

  • Client
    Peregrine Sports LLC & H+L Architecture
  • Services
    Cost Management & Quantity Surveying
  • sector
  • Location
    Providence, United States

Goal-oriented talent

With an unmatched combination of global expertise and local knowledge in sports and entertainment projects, and with a reputation for innovative problem-solving, RLB was chosen by Peregrine Sports LLC to provide milestone cost estimates during the design phase of the project.

The language of sport may be universal – but that doesn’t mean all sport venues are the same. RLB understands that each bespoke project brings together unique challenges. Whether these are technical, political or cultural, RLB draws on deep global experience to help our clients navigate the process.

Our challenge was to ensure the renovation of Providence Park maximised the modern-day fan experience while respecting the heritage and original 1925 masterplan of a much-loved stadium. RLB has kicked many goals on sporting infrastructure in the past and was proud be part of this winning project.

When done well, stadiums can act as catalysts for urban regeneration, anchor communities and add real value to cities. RLB’s team undertook the task of cost estimation with a focus on long-term value – and that meant delivering a great sport experience today and enduring community benefits tomorrow.

A new theatre for sport

The project team turned to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London for inspiration, where stacked levels of outdoor seating bring audiences close to the action.

The design of the seating on each level was carefully adjusted to achieve the right slope and floor-to-floor heights – optimising views of the pitch and the experience of ardent spectators.

  • $
  • 4,000
    new seats
  • 117
    (35 metre) cantilevered roof

Fans first design

Fans are at the heart of the Thorns’ and Timbers’ fame, and the atmosphere at Providence Park is the teams’ biggest calling card. A seat in the stadium is the hottest ticket in town. With every Timbers game a sellout since 2011, and with a season ticket waiting list of 13,000, the Timbers Army of supporters was thrilled with the extra seating – and with the news that 80 per cent of new seats would be dedicated to new season ticket holders.

Best seat in the house

Costing a complex renovation like Providence Park requires careful consideration at every stage. The compact site, hemmed in by streets, light rail lines and the nearby Multnomah Athletic Club, presented a series of complex access and logistics challenges. The steel canopy over the seating bowl – a sloping, intricate and custom-fabricated element – required thoughtful consideration from RLB’s team. Then there was a narrow window of time for completion – during the Timbers’ off-season – which made schedule constraints a significant cost consideration. RLB’s team pushed the boundaries off the field to ensure, come game time, new generations of Timbers and Thorns fans would have the best seats in the house.


Photos Jeremy Bittermann / JBSA