Baseball enthusiast turns hobby into a business

2013/01/31

Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium) depicted in 1909 when this first all-steel and concrete ballpark opened as the new home of the Philadelphia Athletics. Courtesy of Legendary Ballparks.

If you’re an architect and watercolor artist with a passion for baseball, what do you do in your spare time? If you’re Tom Woodman, you use your architectural rendering and artistic imaging skills to recreate the 15 original Major League Baseball parks using Vectorworks Architect software and its integrated rendering application Renderworks. You name your business Legendary Ballparks and sell your creations in limited edition art print form.

Woodman’s awe-inspiring designs are the result of countless hours of research, creativity, and productivity. He’s successfully redesigned 10 out of the 15 ballparks and intends to complete the final five. His passion for baseball emerged after attending his first Major League game at Old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1959. He remembers that experience vividly and wanted to capture the experience for others.

“My work allows baseball enthusiasts to see what these ballparks looked like before time and circumstances took them from us,” says Woodman, whose “real” job focuses on residential design as founder of Thomas Woodman Architects.  “I wanted to get my arms around Vectorworks’ 3D capabilities, and this was the perfect way to do it. I’m constantly using my imaging skills and applying them to my drawings in Vectorworks–stretching beyond its use as a technical tool to make art.”

Redesigning each ballpark requires extensive research of photographs, architectural drawings, and sometimes even microfiche records from which Woodman determines the scale of elements such as brick lengths and column spacing. Each creation can take 90 to 300 hours, depending on how much historical data exists.

This nighttime image of Ebbets Field depicts what could have been the opening of the ballpark in 1913. Tom Woodman took the liberty of placing people in 21st-century clothing into the image, so it appears that they went back in time to witness the opening of this neighborhood ballpark. Courtesy of Legendary Ballparks.

“Because I’m an artist, I spend a lot time manipulating light in my drawings to create depth and a certain mood,” says Woodman. “The Vectorworks application has tremendous lighting control and accuracy.” Plus, Woodman’s passion has positively impacted his architectural business. “Redesigning these historic ballparks has helped my architectural practice because I better understand Vectorworks’ 3D capabilities,” he says. “Now when I design a home, I’ll render out the exteriors and interiors to help clients visualize the project. If my architectural clients can benefit from my love of baseball, it’s a win-win.”

We certainly agree, and we can’t wait to see Woodman’s final five renderings.

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