Designing iconic sports stadiums

Want to build a world class sports stadium?
Thinking of expanding your existing sports arena?
Looking to boost turnover by converting your single function stadium into a multipurpose sports venue?

Whatever your goal, our specialist stadium engineers have the skills to convert your vision into a winning business venture.

In today’s complex commercial climate, stadia owners and operators are increasingly looking to find ways to give their sports venue the competitive edge. But what is the best way to boost your business? Do you need a multipurpose stadium that can support everything from football matches to rock concerts, or a single function stadium dedicated to a specific sport?

The trick is to focus on your business model, and let the economic imperatives drive your decision making. Here at Buro Happold, our specialist stadia engineers will work with you to identify your drivers, and then design and deliver a bespoke venue around your business needs.

As engineers and as sports fans, we also appreciate that there is more to good stadium design than just the nuts and bolts. That’s why we pioneered world first research into how stadium design can generate atmosphere inside a sports arena. This proved that it is possible to engineer an unrivalled experience for spectators, and in doing so deliver real commercial benefits for our clients.

This roundup of our top 5 projects shows that, when it comes to world class stadium design, we have an impressive track record.

Single function stadium: Mercedes Benz Stadium

We crowned this 190,000m², 80,000 seat sports stadium with an innovative oculus roof that opens and closes like a camera shutter. A daring alternative to the typical bi-panel structure, this roof presented our engineers with many unique challenges – not least the impressive structural optimisation required to support its vast weight – but its striking design succeeds in securing the stadium as a new icon for Atlanta.

Multipurpose stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Football Ground

Built on the footprint of the legendary White Hart Lane football ground, this UEFA/FIFA compliant stadium is fine-tuned to generate and incredible experience for football fans. Then, at the flick of a switch, the football pitch splits 3 ways and slides beneath the south stand, transforming the stadium into a unique venue for NFL games, corporate events, and even rock concerts.

Stadium expansion: Sheikh Zayed National Stadium

In 2008, Abu Dhabi was appointed host for the 2009 FIFA World Cup, and Buro Happold was invited to join the team tasked with bringing the old Sheikh Zayed Stadium up to international standards within nine months. Our agile solutions increased capacity to 45,000, updated the pitch lighting in line with modern broadcasting requirements, and delivered a fully retractable glazed facade. This ambitious refurbishment project was delivered to budget, and on time for the World Cup kick off in December 2009.

Iconic stadium design: Aviva Stadium

Home to both the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland, the challenge for our stadium engineers was to deliver a sports venue that was able to house 50,000 passionate fans while keeping within the existing tight footprint of the famous Lansdowne Road site. We responded with the world’s first truly responsive stadium building, whose form and materials undulate gracefully around the specific constraints of this historic site.

World class stadium: London 2012 Olympic Stadium

We transformed this dedicated athletics venue into the world’s finest multipurpose sports and entertainment venue. By incorporating features such as substantial new spectator accommodation, movable seating and a modified bowl, the stadium is now capable of catering for over 20 different sports. It is also the new home of premiership football club West Ham United.

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