AMI Stadium

  • Christchurch
  • 2012

CHALLENGE: After the devastation of two major earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, the city was left without any major outdoor gathering place, for sport or entertainment. The Government decided to build a temporary stadium, while the long term future of the city’s badly damaged main stadium, could be decided.

The challenge was to build a cost effective temporary stadium, as quickly as possible, to the highest possible safety standards, with great atmosphere and sightlines, and make it feel as though it was not yet another temporary solution.

The NZ $30M stadium, at an existing sporting ground at Addington, was constructed in less than 100 days, in time for the Canterbury Crusaders first home game of the 2012 Super Rugby Season. The 18000 seat stadium design combines modular buildings and lightweight stand structures with a fabric roof, all built to stringent earthquake standards.  The structures supporting the seats are made of latticework and steel tubes using scaffolding technology with thousands of additional bracing components to meet seismic engineering and safety requirements.

INNOVATION: Populous has drawn on its experience with the London 2012 Olympics to create a unique gathering place in Christchurch, using fabric and graphics to embrace the temporary nature of the stadium and give it special identity.  A lightweight, red, fabric ribbon – the colour of the Canterbury Crusaders- is woven through the scaffolding of the temporary stands to draw people in.

The stadium is also innovative for its reuse of stadium components from other venues around New Zealand. The pitch has been recycled from the main Christchurch stadium, AMI stadium, along with the AV screens and the public address system. The temporary seating has come from Eden Park as it was no longer required following the Rugby World Cup.  Food and beverage outlets and merchandising have been relocated from both Eden Park and Carisbrook stadium in Dunedin, which has also supplied the lighting towers.

IMPACT: The Government, which has underwritten the cost of the project, believes the stadium is an important step in the recovery of normality in Christchurch and the city has embraced it.  The stadium will be the only major outdoor venue for the next few years. It is flexible enough to be used for other sports and has the potential to increase its capacity to 25,000 for a Rugby test match. This solution gives Christchurch time to properly plan for the long term future of its sporting facilities.