A new Bordeaux stadium by architects Herzog & de Meuron debunks the hulking typology of a sporting facility. The architect compares the “elegant” and “lightweight”-looking design to a “classic temple,” which doesn’t seem all that hyperbolic.
Surrounded by 900 slim columns on all four sides supporting a sharp-edged rectangular roof, the 42,000-seat stadium is composed of two superposed tiers divided into four sections.
The entire seating area is shielded from rain and shine by a semi-translucent roof canopy. Photographs show unusually lavish legroom between each row of seats.
The stadium structure itself is composed of three key elements: the bowl, raised above ground level, for games and spectators, the concourse as a transition between the playing field and its external surroundings, as well as the external landscape itself.
The latter fell under the ministrations of French landscape architect Michel Desvigne, who created an area for community sporting activities as well as a children’s playground. “Special attention was paid to the integration of the structure into the grand landscape,” Herzog & De Meuron said in a statement.
Rather than taking aesthetic cues from the historic city center of Bordeaux Lac, the firm based its designs on the willowy pine trees of the Landes Forest located south of the city.
Between the matchstick forest of columns throughout the stadium weaves a “ribbon-like” structure designed to accommodate food stalls and toilet facilities around the perimeter of the building.
“Its purity and geometrical clarity inspire a sense of monumentality and gracefulness,” said Herzog & De Meuron. “One might be tempted to draw a comparison with a classical temple, but unlike the elevated plinth of a temple, the grand stairs of the stadium blur the boundaries between the inside and the outside.”
The Swiss firm won a competition in 2011 to design the facility, with work commencing in 2013. Set to be the home stadium of French football team FC Girondins de Bordeaux and host to five matches during the 2016 European Football Championships, the stadium was recently inaugurated ahead of its first football match.
Italian football giant AC Milan is relocating to what the club purports as “the world’s most innovative stadium” in the city’s Portello area. The new mixed-use facility will be slightly over half the size of the team’s current 80,000-seater San Siro stadium, which it shares with fierce rival Intel.
Flagging spectator turnout in recent years has incentivized several Italian football clubs to occupy downsized stadiums. In the 2013-14 season, AC Milan averaged just 40,061 spectators and half-empty bleachers.
The club selected a design team consisting of architecture and design firm Arup and Italian architect Emilio Faroldi, who studied 70 stadia around the world as part of the design process, absorbing ideas from the Emirates Stadium in London, the St. Jakob-Park in Basel, and the new San Mames stadium in Bilbao. Given initial protests by Milan residents over the club’s relocation, Faroldi’s onus was to create a minimally invasive design with the aesthetic of a building rather than a hulking sports facility.
Thus the first 33 feet of the stadium will be sunken underground, with the building peaking at just 98 feet. Aspiring towards a multi-use stadium that remains operational on non-matchdays like those in the UK, the facility will include a hotel, sports college, restaurants, courtyard and rooftop green areas, a children’s playground, and public art spaces.
“Scientific research, through a series of studies, tell us clearly that the role of arenas in Europe and the world is gradually changing,” Faroldi told Italy’s La Gazetta dello Sport. “The stadiums are no longer meant just as a place for sporting events, although open all week, but as a useful piece to reorder the outlook of a neighborhood, a city.”
The architect aimed for fewer turnstiles and fewer barriers between fans and the stadium, proposing to supplement these distancing reinforcements with heightened security. AC Milan recently mobilized to tout the benefits of the new stadium to the public, such as escalated land value and the creation of 1,000 jobs during construction and 500 jobs thereafter.
The club emphasized the incorporation of state-of-the-art sound-proof materials for near-zero noise pollution and minimal visual impact, as well as the stadium’s integration with public transportation systems. AC Milan hopes to move into its new stadium by the beginning of the 2018–19 Series A season.
Seven years away and already commanding a reported $200 billion budget in preparations, the FIFA World Cup 2022 has Qatari officials deliberating over proposals for an underwater TV station. Los Angeles–based artificial reef and aquarium design firm Reef Worlds is pushing designs for a $30 million underwater broadcast studio which, post–World Cup, will be turned into a public aquarium.
The studio itself will occupy a carved-out rocky cavern on the ocean floor. According to Patric Douglas, CEO of Reef Worlds, Qatar World Cup authorities warmed to the preliminary designs and “the notion of doing the World Cup underwater with sharks swimming around.” In terms of funding, Douglas predicted that it would be covered by broadcasters who want to use the film location as a base during the World Cup.
“You could underwrite the entire thing with one Sky or Latin broadcast network, they will pay you enough money to finance this thing,” he told Arabian Business. Qatari officials, who have a generous appetite for the superlative and the submerged, will decide in either July or August whether to greenlight Douglas’ plans.
A European real estate agent based in Dubai is developing a collection of three-story properties with one floor submerged as a cross between a boat and a villa. Each unit will reportedly sell for $1.4 million. Meanwhile, Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala is soliciting investors for his plans to build the world’s first underwater tennis stadium. Qatar’s current budget of $200 billion for the FIFA World Cup amounts to an eye-watering $100,000 per capita. This, of course, all comes as FIFA finds itself in a massive corruption scandal, and renewed scrutiny over why Qatar, a country with a terrible human rights record and a very hot climate, was awarded the 2022 World Cup.
Should the proposal meet a dead end, Reef Worlds is nevertheless bent on developing “sustainable underwater tourism sites” in Dubai, UAE, and the wider Gulf. The firm recently completed designs for the world’s first underwater amusement park, which is modeled after the mythical city of Atlantis and inspired by motion pictures such as Avatar and Pirates of the Carribean. If approved, the park will be built on The World, a series of man-made islands off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a map of the world.
A lack of a viable stadium had been seen as a key hole in Miami's efforts to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. Now local firm Arquitectonica has stepped in to fill that void, collaborating with 360 Architecture to design a potential waterfront soccer venue. The campaign has a rather dashing face in the form of soccer-star David Beckham, who has provided vocal and financial backing for the plan and apparently played active role in the design concept and siting of the proposed stadium.
Beckham asked the architects to embrace the notion of water and beach as key elements of the idea of Miami, a consideration that seems to have manifested itself in the wavy amorphous forms of the building. Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia sees the stadium as a cog in the ongoing development of the Port of Miami, which was selected from a list of 30 locations under consideration. Hotels and office buildings are other new additions seen flanking the stadium in preliminary renderings.
Realization of the team is still a ways away, but co-owner Marcelo Claure set an optimistic 2017 date for an MLS debut. Despite the renderings, a waterfront address is no guarantee as negotiations regarding stadium locale are ongoing with Miami-Dade County and Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.
The city's entry will be preceded by Northern neighbors Orlando, who plan to have the woefully-named Orlando City SC ready to join the league by 2015. New York is also set to welcome a second team next year, though their search for a permanent home has been beset by controversy. Delays may force the team to debut in a temporary venue while more lasting arrangements are made.
Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled its design for a 40,000-seat soccer stadium to rise in the Arabian kingdom of Qatar. The project is slated to be complete in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is only one of several such facilities that the oil-rich nation plans to build—in addition to miles of roads, a seaport, airport, and a rail system—in a $140 billion spending spree to lay down the infrastructure necessary to support the event and the international crowds it attracts.
Hadid's office has stated that the design of the stadium is derived from the dhow, a type of fishing vessel that is common among the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. Several commentators have pointed out, however, that the renderings more closely resemble the mounds, folds, and cavities of a certain very private part of the female anatomy.
Since the World Cup is played during the summertime, one of the chief challenges of the design will be keeping the interior environment cool enough for comfortable spectating. Ambient temperatures in Qatar can reach as high as 120 degrees fahrenheit.
According to Hadid's office, which is working on the project with AECOM, the shape of the roof—which will be a composite structure of steel and engineered timber—has been specifically designed to encourage passive cooling. This combined with mechanical air conditioning systems will keep the interior temperature at around 85 degrees fahrenheit.
Hadid's feminine formed stadium falls among an illustrious company of other buildings that have attempted to counterbalance the predominantly male derived motifs of architecture. (Didn't someone once point out the phallic nature of the skyscraper?) Oddly enough, as with Hadid and her dhow diversionary tactics, few designers actually advertise that their lady like buildings are inspired by this impulse, and most commentators commend them for other reasons.
The clearly feminine crown of A. Epstein & Sons' 1983 Smurfit-Stone Building in Chicago was also allegedly designed to reference sail boats, these in Lake Michigan, rather than a vagina. And Philip Johnson's award-winning 1975 Penzoil Place in Houston was lauded for helping architects to break away from the rectangular modernist box, rather than applauded for looking like a girl lying on her back with her knees in the air.
While the profession of architecture roils with calls for more recognition of women's roles in great buildings, can't it also come a little cleaner about when it uses the feminine form as inspiration?
The Arab state of Qatar is in full swing with its plans to host the FIFA World Games 2022. Selected in 2010, it is the first time in the history of FIFA that a Middle Eastern Country has been chosen to host the tournament.
Three existing stadiums will be expanded and nine new ultra-modern stadiums will be built, including one designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The stadiums will reach capacities from approximately 45,000 seats for the group matches, to more than 85,000 seats for the finals. The design vision involves keeping all the stadiums within a one hour drive from the FIFA headquarters, allowing fans to attend more than one game a day.
The state has submitted a substantial dossier concerned with all relevant issues ranging from accommodation, transport, security, environment to the stadium infrastructure. Part of the giant venture includes the construction of a a new, 200-mile-long metro system, expected to be completed in 2021.
Al Shamal Stadium is one of the proposed stadiums to be completed in 2017. The design of the structure is inspired by the local fishing boats (dhows), commonly used in the Persian Gulf, and will accommodate approximately 45,000 people.
Another proposed venue is the Al Khor Stadium which will take on an asymmetrical seashell form, providing capacity for over 45,000 fans, and an additional 1,000 seats for press.
Zaha Hadid is on a stadium kick of late. Work has already begun for the design of a 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium to be built in Qatar by Zaha Hadid Architects and AECOM. The 45,000-seat stadium is meant to visually embody an oasis and will be built 12 miles southeast of capital-city, Doha.
The stadium will be built alongside historical buildings, including mosques and archeological sites, and its design looks to mediate between modern sports facility design and the historic context. Hadid has also taken the unrelenting heat that characterizes the region into the stadium's design by including cooling technology and climate control systems. The stadium will also be outfitted with a spa, an aquatic center and other sporting facilities. The facility is designed to be reduced in scale after the World Cup games to a final capacity of 25,500 seats.