Adaptive Reuse of Sport Stadiums and Collective Memories: Rexall Place as a Site for the Continuation of the Oilers Dynasty and Civic Pride

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Alec Skillings

Abstract

Sports stadiums work to shape the identity of cities and reflect their cultural attitudes. From the Luzhniki Sports Complex’s material representation of Soviet Russia’s political leanings and ideologies to the Houston Astrodome’s display of technological advancement, stadia architecture has strong connections to regional zeitgeists. In this paper, I explain the importance of stadia architecture and how it is embedded in the collective memories of sports fans and citizens. As well, I explain how stadia architecture carries political and social consequences. Adaptive reuse or demolition of abandoned stadia also carries social and political consequences as stadia have the ability to embody the social history and civic imagination of their cities. I then present the case of Edmonton's Rexall Place arena, and provide an account of why it is important to repurpose the structure as a place for hockey. Ultimately Edmonton's collective memories and identity are held within the cement walls of Rexall Place, and the demolition of the structure would be detrimental to the hockey-centric civic identity and history.

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