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An all-timber soccer stadium designed by Zaha Hadid Architects for the Forest Green Rovers Football Club has finally been approved for construction after years of delays. Set for construction in Gloucestershire, England, Eco Park Stadium will bring carbon-neutral facilities to the local community while maintaining the natural qualities of the existing site. It will be the first soccer stadium in the world built entirely out of wood.
This was Zaha Hadid Architects’ second attempt in getting the design approved after winning a competition to design the stadium in 2016. The proposal was denied due to concerns regarding the project’s impact on noise, traffic, and the environment. A variety of adjustments including, a revised landscape strategy, increased matchday transport, and the addition of translucent cladding to the stadium canopy, secured approval, according to The Architect’s Newspaper and Archinect.
The timber stadium will be the centerpiece of the $124 million “Eco Park” development, a 100-acre space dedicated to sports and green technology. The 5,000-seat Eco Park Stadium will be joined by grass and all-weather training pitches, publicly accessible multi-disciplinary facilities, a sports science hub, and a collection of offices and retail spaces.
As stated on Zaha Hadid Architects’ website, almost every element of the stadium will be made of sustainably-sourced timber, including its structure, roof cantilevers and louvered cladding. Laminated timber is a highly durable building material, as well as being safe, recyclable and — when detailed correctly — beautiful too.
The firm has even claimed that Ecopark Stadium has the potential to be carbon negative, with the provision of on-site renewable energy generation. Furthermore, the close proximity of the stadium’s structural elements to one another enables the seating terraces and floor slab to be made from timber, which are normally made of concrete or steel.
The seating areas are designed to bring fans as close as sixteen feet away from the field and every seat will be provided with unrestricted sight lines. To top if off, Ecopark Stadium’s design anticipates future growth for the club, in which an additional 5,000 seats can be added without the costs of major construction works.
This unconventional project, a first of its kind, marks a refreshed, sustainable approach to stadium design. It also demonstrates how sustainable architecture can be dynamic and alluring. Regarding the project’s innovative use of timber, Dale Vince, Forest Green Rover’s chairman and the owner of green energy firm Ecotricity told press: “The importance of wood is not only that it’s naturally occurring, it has very low embodied carbon – about as low as it gets for a building material.
And when you bear in mind that around three quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important – and it’s why our new stadium will have the lowest embodied carbon of any stadium in the world.”
Got an eco-friendly project of your own? Enter it in the 8th Annual A+Awards for a shot at international publication and global recognition. Submit your projects before February 14th to secure a special Early Entry Discount.
Top image: Rendering by Negativ (formerly VA)
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