The future of stadium architecture

As someone whose interests include architecture, football and live events, Faris Mousa love to learn about the construction of stadiums, especially those which are new, original and push boundaries in some way.

Faris Mousa also loves to travel, and visiting a new stadium is a fun part of exploring a city. The opportunity to do that has been severely restricted this year, but he has instead been reading up on some exciting advancements in stadium construction.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The journey to completion may not have been plain sailing – the official opening was delayed by many months and costs reached £1bn – but most commentators agree that the project was worth it. Tottenham’s new stadium in London has been called “awe-inspiring” and not just because it’s beautiful.

Primarily designed to host football matches, it is easily converted into a stadium capable of hosting the regular NFL games which are played in the capital city. In addition to this, the complex also included a new school and new affordable housing, a great help to a deprived area.

The project proves that a stadium can be more than a space to watch sport on a Saturday – it’s a community hub.

Forest Green Rovers

Another stadium which endured a bumpy ride – and has yet to be completed – is the new Forest Green Rovers stadium designed by world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects.

What makes the stadium noteworthy, and one part of what is making planning permission so difficult to secure – is that it will be entirely made of wood. All materials will be sustainably sourced, which fits perfectly with the club’s green ethos. It has, after all, been named the greenest team in the world by FIFA.

It’s revolutionary as it stands, but no doubt environmental considerations will become increasingly important as awareness of climate change grows, making this project a pioneer rather than merely a one-off.

Munich’s Olympic Park

While many stadiums are given iconic designs that stand prominently on a town or city’s skyline, the architects behind Munich’s Olympic Park opted to go in the other direction.

Instead, they have done their best to blend the stadium in with its surroundings. Partially underground with a green roof and curves that help it hide within the surrounding scenery, it will be engineered to ‘complement’ rather than outshine.

This could mark a change in trends, a shift away from exuberant and proud to subtle and respectful of local residents (both human and animal.)

Augmented reality stadiums

The need for true-to-life fan experiences without the travel has been pushed to the forefront by the coronavirus lockdown, but the technology has already been around for a number of years.

The advancement in capability alongside the falling prices of smartphones could soon mean that pretty much anybody, in any location, can pull up a prime seat at any sporting event of their choosing, anywhere in the world.

Not only will headsets provide a fully immersive, 3D, real-time experience, there will be added features such as in game statistics, analysis and even the opportunity to pause, rewind and change camera angle.

It won’t be very long at all before the experience of visiting a stadium won’t even require you to leave your living room.

Lockdown Activities for Architects

Ever since prime minister Boris Johnson recommended that we stay indoors more than a month ago, architects around the country have been severely restricted in how they can work, socialise and pursue their interests.

But it has been heartening to see that organisations across the globe have stepped up to do their part, making a wealth of resources available, often for free, to encourage us all to stay indoors, but remain active and entertained.

From the comfort of your home, you can tune into anything from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals to classic Formula 1 races, but for this blog I will specifically focus on what’s out there for anyone with an interest in architecture, whether you’re a professional, a student or merely a keen observer.

Explore famous architecture

Many properties designed and built by world-renowned architects have been made available for virtual visitors. Some of these are in remote locations, or are privately owned, meaning that even without the lockdown they would be a rare treat to explore.

Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Battló

Philip Johnson’s The Glass House″>

12 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

12 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are now hosting virtual tours

Tour famous galleries

One of the most rewarding aspects of visiting a new city can be browsing its galleries and museums. (Faris Mousa: Fascinating architecture and beautiful food in northern Spain) Travel may be off the table for now, but there are plenty of institutions which are available to view – in high resolution and often in 3D – virtually.

Guided tour of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg

Virtual tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence”>

See inside The Guggenheim in New York

Brush up on your skills

The extra spare time that the lockdown presents is a gift for anyone looking to add to their knowledge, learn something new, or even add a few lines to their CV. There is a wealth of architecture books, seminars and other resources that will both keep you busy and enhance your career.

Best architecture books

Best webinars

Free photography resources

Involve the kids

Many parents who are homeschooling at the moment have new-found respect for teachers and their ability to source constant entertainment for active and excitable children. The architecture world is playing its part to help. Foster and Partners, for example, has launched its #architecturefromhome series to inspire bright young minds.