Women’s World Cup: Q&A with Elizabeth Miglierina on Parc Olympique Lyonnais

July 2, 2019 / Elizabeth Miglierina

And then there were four.

Having toured France and broken viewing figures around the world, the battle for the top prizes in the FIFA Women’s World Cup will all take place on one very familiar stage: Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

Designed by Populous, this ground, just three years old yet steeped in the history of the club and the local area, will be a cacophony of noise and atmosphere for each of the remaining matches at this year’s World Cup. It may not be a global capital, but there’s a strong argument for Lyon being the epicentre of women’s football. In the last nine years, only two teams aside from Olympique Lyonnais Féminin have won the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League. In their own national league, they have won the league every year since 2007, meaning that they are currently on a 13-year winning streak. Football is culture in this region of France, and culture is football.

Ahead of the first semi-final, we asked Elizabeth Miglierina, who was a key member of the design team for Parc Olympique Lyonnais, to share her thoughts on the project.

Tell us about your role on the Parc Olympique Lyonnais project…

I was responsible for numerous packages, supervising the design, scoping and detailing of each package, overseeing the specifications as well as coordinating contractor and consultant drawings. I also designed and coordinated elements of the podium such as the kiosks.

What did you enjoy most about the project?

It was really exciting to be part of a project that would be enjoyed and experienced by so many. But what I really appreciated was the team I worked with. For me, it was one of the first stadiums I was able to watch being built from the ground up and being shaped, and working with a lot of experienced stadium architects and designers has been really valuable. It was a real collaboration that made the best use of everyone’s skills and I’m so grateful to the entire team for everything I learned, but also the support and the opportunities I was given along the journey.

  • elizabeth-miglierina-at-groupama-stadium
    Inspecting the roof structure

What was the most challenging aspect of the project for you?

Time. It was really important to resolve issues quickly and efficiently to make sure the stadium would open on time to host games at Euro 2016, but also to achieve the best possible outcome —we all wanted every single detail to be perfect.

What makes the Parc Olympique Lyonnais special?

The atmosphere, inside and outside the ground—from the bowl to the podium. The bowl has been designed to keep the sound in the stadium during matches—it gets really noisy in there. And of course there are the two huge walls of fans at the south and north ends that really drive that atmosphere.

"...I love the way it looks like it’s floating above the surrounding area."

What’s your favourite space in the building?

The podium with its huge canopy—I love the way it looks like it’s floating above the surrounding area. The sheltered space it creates allows for a more inclusive environment, where events, shows and gatherings can take place before and after matches. It really helps to project the atmosphere of the stadium—you can almost see the pitch from the podium, it pulls you in!

  • Groupama Stadium roof canopy 2
    The roof canopy creates a sheltered podium where events can take place both on match days and non-match days

If you could highlight a unique aspect of the design visitors to the stadium may not have noticed, what would it be?

I love how varied the spectator concourses are throughout the stadium. Some are bridges overlooking the bowl and the lower concourses, some open onto triple-height spaces and some overlook the surrounding landscape and the distant Alps. They all offer different perspectives of the stadium and that’s very rare within a building like this. What’s really cool is the club has collaborated with artists from all around the world to create the “Offside Gallery” and fill some of these concourse spaces with incredible street art painted directly onto the stadium walls. The gallery is open to the general public at weekends—it’s another example of how the stadium draws visitors on non-match days.


Meet the author

Elizabeth Miglierina

Principal / Montreal


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