Zaha Hadid Architects has been announced as the winner of an international competition to design a new football stadium for the Forest Green Rovers in Stroud, UK. Following a seven month competition featuring over 50 entries from around the world, ZHA was selected over finalist Glenn Howells Architects for their all-wood proposal. When finished, the stadium will be the first in the world to be built entirely out of wood.
“Forest Green Rovers have established a holistic vision for the site to retain its pastoral qualities whilst adding new facilities for the town. While the stadium will be the centrepiece, the project creates a new public realm with both recreational and occupational uses, enabling the entire site to contribute to the town - not only on match days, but every day of the year,” said Jim Heverin, Director at ZHA.
The choice of a natural material for the stadium falls in line with the development’s environmentally-conscious concept – the wooden structure will allow the stadium to have the lowest embodied carbon of any stadium in the world. Virtually every element will be constructed of sustainably sourced timber, including the structure, roof cantilevers and louvered cladding.
Additionally, the stadium roof will be made up of a transparent membrane, which according to ZHA, “contributes to turf growth, minimizes stark shadows for players and fans and reduces the volumetric impact of the stadium from distant views in the surrounding landscape.”
“We’ve done as much as we can to make our current stadium properly sustainable, but we are limited with what we can do – it simply wasn’t built with the environment in mind. At Eco Park, we’ve started with a blank sheet of paper, and we’ll be going further than anyone has done before – this really will be the greenest football stadium in the world,” explains Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman.
"As a building material, timber is highly durable, recyclable and beautiful,” adds Heverin. “The proximity of the stadium’s structural elements to each other has also been determined to enable the seating terraces and floor slab to be made from timber. In most other stadiums, these elements are concrete or steel.
Not forgotten is user experience design, as the stadium seating has been designed to optimize unobstructed views to the pitch and to generate a lively environment.
“With the team’s community and supporters at its core, fans will be as close as five meters from the pitch and the position of every seat has been calculated to provide excellent, unrestricted views of the entire field of play,” says Heverin. “The stadium’s continuous spectator bowl surrounding the pitch will maximise matchday atmosphere.”
The new stadium serve as the centerpiece of the new £100million, 100 acre Eco Park development, which will also consist of state-of-the-art sporting facilities, grass and all-weather training pitches, public multi-purpose facilities and a sports science hub. It will be built in two phases, allowing seating to expand from 5,000 to 10,000 as the development grows.
Also part of the development project will be a green technology business park housing offices for green energy company Ecotricity, a potential public transport hub, an on-site nature reserve, and restoration of the nearby Stroudwater canal.
Organizers were also extremely impressed with Glenn Howells Architects’ runner-up design.
“Glenn Howells also produced an exceptional design – and they impressed us as much as their design did actually,” said Vince. “As a result, we’re going to work with them on some future projects.”
News via Zaha Hadid Architects.