Etihad Stadium Expansion and Tunnel Club

Manchester, United Kingdom
Opened in 2015
Architecture, Interior Design
Manchester City is a football club with a proud history that has accelerated its development in line with its consistent on-pitch success in recent years.

Affordable ticket prices, on-pitch success and a dedicated local, national and international fanbase has attracted a lengthy season-ticket and match day waiting list. To keep their matches as accessible as possible it became necessary for the club to develop a strategy for expanding their home ground, Etihad Stadium.

A most impressive response to tricky engineering challenges that resulted in a stadium expansion with minimal spectator disruption and a complementary architectural form. A clever and seamless intervention in a geometrically complex cable net structure.


Structural Awards 2017




Working closely with Manchester City, Populous conceived a phased development that would cause minimum disruption during the football season, allowing the team to continue playing at the Etihad throughout construction. The first phase of the project began in March 2014 and saw the South Stand expand by 6,000 seats in time for the start of the 2015/16 Premier League season. This initial phase included three extra rows of seats pitch side, adding a further 1,600 to the overall capacity. In addition to the capacity increase, the expanded design included improvements to the hospitality facilities, new corporate suites, and developments of the land surrounding the stadium, heightening the fan experience.

The stadium expansion respected the identity of the original City of Manchester Stadium, utilising the same masts and tensioned cable net roofstructure that make the building such a recognisable landmark, with additions to the external structure that complement the existing façade. The most noticeable difference is the use of internal stairs, rather than the original vertical circulation ramps, providing views out from the concourse and new hospitality spaces which would otherwise have been obscured.

Disciplines Provided

  • Architecture


    Populous was commissioned in 2014 to undertake the expansion of Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. In order that the club could continue playing at the stadium throughout the duration of the works, the design team devised a phased development program that saw 6,000 extra seats added to the South Stand in time for the start of the 2015/16 season including 1,600 at pitch side, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before.

    Populous’ scheme utilized the stadium’s existing masts and cable net roof structure to preserve the venue’s iconic profile, with additions to the South Stand external elevation integrated seamlessly with the building façade.

    The external works also included the development of land surrounding the stadium, with Populous drawing on its vast experience in designing American football venues to create spaces inspired by the ‘tailgate’ parties seen in the NFL, where fans can gather before and after matches.

  • Interior Design

    Interior Design

    The brief for the project was to redevelop the Colin Bell Stand at the Etihad Stadium to create new and modern player facilities, along with new hospitality areas. By remodeling the under-utilized space within the stand, space was created for three floors — delivering two levels of premium quality lounge space on the mezzanine floor, as well as contemporary player changing facilities, warm up areas and enhanced match day operations facilities.

    The new home team player facilities are designed to the highest standard, and include a circular changing room and hydrotherapy pools. The chance to create a unique Tunnel Club was an opportunity that Populous had highlighted in its initial study back in 2010. The Tunnel Club and Players’ Areas required significant design innovation in order for them to meet the requirements of a Club with aspirations to compete at the highest levels of European Football.

    The Tunnel Club at Manchester City was the first of its kind in U.K. football and allows hospitality and lounge guests an insight into the inner sanctum with a behind-the-scenes view of the players’ tunnel. From this stunning setting, fans can feel the match day atmosphere begin to build ahead of the game. The space has created multiple opportunities for the club’s hospitality team, with a full match day schedule, and a unique space to use for the rest of the year.

  • 2017

    • Structural Awards, Award for Sport or Leisure Structures
  • 2016

    • Structural Steel Design Awards
2 items.
  • Mike Trice Senior Principal, Architect London
  • Charlie Fordham Principal, Architect London

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