CHALLENGE. Lansdowne Road has been the traditional home of rugby in Ireland since the first game was played there in 1876. When the existing facility no longer met the requirements of an international sporting venue, Populous was briefed to design a new 50,000-seat stadium, in a space that was smaller than that occupied by the old 25,000-capacity venue. The site was constrained on all sides, crucially by houses with ‘rights to light’ to the north and south, and the railway line running along the western boundary. These constrictions required the design team to develop a specific methodology of design and construction for the project.
INNOVATION. The chosen design solution kept the number of rail closures to a minimum by enabling phased demolition and construction. The complex 3D form was realized through the development of new parametric software into which the design team, the structural engineers and contractors could feed information simultaneously. This resulted in a fully coordinated structural and cladding model that then informed the construction. The dramatic form of the finished stadium rises in the east and west to give the majority of spectators the best viewing angles, while lowering in the north and south to minimize the impact on residential areas. The horseshoe-shaped main truss for the roof is supported on two columns at the north end, providing the stunning visual effect of the roof in suspension, hanging above the seating tiers.
IMPACT. The Aviva Stadium heralded a new era of stadium design, where complex curved forms can be designed and constructed using parametric design software. Its beautiful curved facade is an ephemeral addition to the skyline of Dublin and provides an iconic design that acts as a national symbol of modern Ireland. The transparent ‘shingles’ reflect the colour of the sky and the light conditions, so that the stadium’s stunning form is ever changing.
"Nothing compares to that anthem in a packed Aviva Stadium. It's pretty special, isn't it?"Jacob Stockdale / Ireland International Rugby Player
The 51,700 capacity Aviva Stadium is the national stadium for Ireland, home to both the Irish rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team. It is Ireland’s only UEFA Category 4 Stadium, eligible to host games in Europe’s most prestigious football competitions.
The stadium site is extremely tight, with houses with rights to light and views to the north and south and a railway line running along the eastern boundary. These constraints drove the development of the building’s dramatic 3D form, which sees the stadium bowl rise and fall in a wave-like manner to avoid blocking light to local residents. It is one of the first examples of complex, curved forms in stadium architecture anywhere in the world.
The stadium façade is clad in polycarbonate louvres and glass that reflects the sky and further breaks down the mass of the building, providing an ever-changing shimmering effect.
- LAMA Awards, National Impact, Best Civil Engineering Project, Best Architect
- European EPSE Awards
- British Expertise international awards, Sport Leisure and Tourism category
- IPA Architecture Award, Leisure & Hospitality
- WAF Awards, WAF-ONCE 2010 Accessibility Awards, World's Best New Building
- WAF Awards, Highly Commended, Best New Sporting Facility