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.