Five secrets behind super successful stadium design
1.Engage your stadia design team from the start
Bringing the full team on board at the beginning ensures the result is most closely tailored to your desired outcomes. Establishing open communication channels between team and stakeholders guarantees the best start.
2. Focus on desired outcomes
Dreaming big and communicating your vision to the design team is the best way to begin. Excellent engineers and architects relish the challenge and commit their skills, knowledge and experience to achieving it.
3. Explore the possibilities
Allowing time at the start to fully consider the project will result in an outcome that is as close as possible to your vision. However, tempting, it’s better not to rush to see visuals and stadium models in the first few weeks!
4. Encourage integration
Allowing your design team to work creatively together from the very beginning of the project right through to the end leads to the best results. Splitting engineering and architectural services is unlikely to achieve the best results.
5. Beware of false economies
Selecting an experienced team with the skills, knowledge and experience to achieve your vision is more effective than choosing on the basis of price alone. Hold the team accountable for working to your budget.
Want to find out more? Venue performance specialist Andy Pottinger explains why expertise and preparation is key to world class sports stadium design below.
A few years ago, I gave a talk about starting positions. I began by showing some footage of Roger Federer winning a point. From the moment Federer begins, tossing the ball in the air, it is clear he knows exactly what will happen over the next 20 seconds. His serve pushes his opponent out wide while Federer occupies the centre of the court, firing the ball left, right and straight until he seals victory with an exquisite drop shot.
What does this have to do with stadium design?
Federer’s preparation, experience, skill and ability to adapt mean he is in control from the start. He can anticipate the way any game will unfold – and, as his opponents know to their cost, this makes him almost unbeatable. Creating a new sports stadium requires the same level of expertise and preparation. It takes experience and foresight to anticipate what will happen next, skill and technology to deliver agile designs that can adapt when necessary, and depth of knowledge to steer everything in the right direction.
It seems to me that the design and construction of many stadia around the world has less in common with Roger Federer than with the England team that played Iceland in the last European Championships. All too often, clients struggle to achieve the outcomes they envisaged, ending up with bland, uninspiring venues that offer little by way of character or atmosphere and fail to appeal. Many clients also feel they lose control of the cost and project programme.
Well-designed stadia can help smaller clubs punch above their weight, and help big clubs compete strongly with, or even surpass, their rivals.
The future of stadia design
It is crucial to remember that every club is different and has its own history. Well-designed stadia can help smaller clubs punch above their weight, and help big clubs compete strongly with, or even surpass, their rivals. It is the design team’s challenge to identify the best solution for each individual club.
A few years ago, we started to think about how we as engineers can help ensure that stadia have a future. Having identified the creation of an unbeatable atmosphere for fans as one of the most important elements of good stadia design, we have now moved far beyond that. We apply performance metrics to all aspects of the venue for all stakeholders. This performance can relate to fan experience and crowd influence on the game, but it can also relate to other elements: construction cost, construction programme, design programme, match-day revenue, energy use… the list is endless. Our venue performance team examines all aspects of performance, using technology to revolutionise stadia design and redefine what sports venues can achieve for clubs, their players, their fans and their cities. This brings us back to the importance of the right starting position. A project that starts wrongly is very difficult to turn around.
It is my privilege to work in a team of engineers who understand the value of getting off to a good start. We want to be trusted advisors to our clients right from the very beginning of a project so we can have the most beneficial impact. The new, performance-based approach to stadia design that we are pioneering engages clients, stakeholders and the wider project team from the very start to deliver stadia that perform with the precision, agility and flair of Federer himself.
The new, performance-based approach to stadia design that we are pioneering engages clients, stakeholders and the wider project team from the very start
It is clear that a high-performing stadium will have a positive influence on results, revenue and reputation. Our aim is to take the concept of home advantage to the next level.