While the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics dominated our news and sports pages in February/March, perhaps not so remarked upon was the intriguing ‘plastic’ cladding that completed covered the newly built 40,000 seat Fisht Olympic stadium, host of the Sochi opening and closing…
Populous was the lead consultant for the redevelopment of New Zealand’s premier stadium, Eden Park, for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The redevelopment sees the stadium capacity increased to 60,000 for the Rugby World Cup finals before reducing to 50,000 in its legacy mode. The stadium is set within a sensitive historical residential neighbourhood. It is this residential context, lack of public transport access and the varying state of repair of the various stands which has created a complex array of issues to be addressed in the design.
The redeveloped stadium embodies the principles of sustainable sports architecture through the careful retention and integration of existing facilities into a new east and south stand, the re-orientation of the cricket block to create an improved spectator experience and the development of a public transport hub to the western end of the ground. The new masterplan directs people away from the sensitive residential neighbourhood and encloses the stadium to reduce noise and light pollution to the surrounding properties.
The new south stand and eastern terraces are wrapped in a translucent skin that encloses the concourse and integral activities of the stadium whilst removing the fences to the parks perimeter. This approach has allowed the park to open up to the public, whilst keeping the stadium secure along the building’s edge. The new 21,000 seat south stand sits on a black basalt ground plane representing the lava flows that used to cross the site from the nearby extinct volcano, Mount Eden Volcano. The actual stands float above this ground plane contained within a
cloud like veil created by the ETFE translucent skin. The design of the new stand creates a softened visual for the stadium, reducing the mass of the building within its residential context.