Slice of Life: The Pony Pound

Arlington Park

Visually both modern and historic, the grandstand building at Arlington Park welcomes thousands of visitors and their money each year.  There are far worse ways to spend a lazy warm summer afternoon than watching the horse races.

The current $100 million building was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and erected in the last 1980’s after a fire destroyed both the grandstand and the Post and Paddock Club.  The owner of the racetrack pledged to build a new facility that was historical in nature outside, but thoroughly modern inside.  Mission accomplished.

It was designed to seat up to 30,000 people, with the primary motivation of having them feel like they’re outside, but actually have many of them protected by a roof.  To accomplish the goal, the building is 800 feet long, which also worked with the architect Diane Legge’s vision that it should mimic some of the old-school European race track grandstands.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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