FC Cincinnati, West End Stadium

Cincinnati, OH, USA

The new design for FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium is charged with capturing the excitement of Cincinnati’s Major League Soccer fan base. Slated for completion in 2021, the stadium is designed to prioritize the fan experience and stadium atmosphere, while creating a focal point for the city.

Buro Happold is providing structural engineering services for the stadium that will serve the proposed FC Cincinnati MLS Expansion Team in the City of Cincinnati.  The stadium design will meet all Major League Soccer criteria as well as being able to host FIFA sponsored events.

Challenge

The structural design of the stadium is intrinsically tied to the goal of fostering an atmosphere of excitement for FC Cincinnati fans. This represented a significant design imperative for our team, having to devise a structural program that would offer the best comfort and safety for fans while engineering an iconic stadium for a growing fan base. Additionally, the Buro Happold team had to work within a fast-tracked schedule with an array of different consultants.

Fans watching a football match at FC Cincinnati Stadium
As the future new home of FC Cincinnati, West End Stadium will offer the team’s fans an unrivalled experience. Image: Populous

Solution

The design for the stadium includes a wrap-around seating bowl with a dedicated safe-standing zone and steeply pitched upper mezzanine. This approach, which also places suite boxes above the main seating area, allows for continuous fan seating and unobstructed sightlines, and will in turn encapsulate the energy generated by fans.

The future stadium will seat between 26,000 and 26,500 with all seats sheltered under a cantilevered roof. A signature facade system will be lit by color-changing LEDs, making the stadium unique and iconic for the team, the City, and the local community. Buro Happold has designed the roof structure as a cantilevered system for its efficiency, simplicity of construction, and alignment with the architectural intent. The roof will provide all seats with protection from environmental elements, such as sun exposure, without obstructing sightlines to the field. The cantilevered roof also allows sunlight onto the field, which is vital for the grass field.

Aerial shot of FC-Cincinnati-Stadium as the sun sets
Conceived by world-renowned architecture firm Populous, the stadium will exemplify the club’s ambition of ‘an iconic and ground-breaking design’. Image: Populous

With an aggressive schedule towards delivery of the new stadium and a diverse range of consultants involved, the design and collaboration process has been tailored to suit the unique demands of the project. For instance, we employed the use of a BIM 360 model that is cloud based for live updates, which ensures seamless collaboration and coordination. This computational design process has allowed our team to analyze changes in the roof design and update the areas of the stadium that will be affected.

To further adapt to the needs of the schedule, we have developed a phased construction process with the contractors, steel fabricators, and wider design team. Constructing the stadium in a sequence from two opposite points, the phased construction process allows for each 360 degree tier to be constructed by two separate teams, splitting the workload and time it takes to create each grade.

Fans watching a soccer match at FC Cincinnati Stadium
To foster the best atmosphere, the design offers continuous seating, unbroken by suite boxes. Image: Populous
Aerial view of FC Cincinnati-Stadium lit up at night
Color changing LEDs will illuminate the stadium’s facade, giving it a striking exterior appearance. Image: Populous

Value

The new FC Cincinnati stadium will be able to accommodate an active and growing fan base in a stadium that prioritizes fan and player comfort. Working in a highly collaborative manner with the entire team has allowed for a design that meets the client’s schedule, is buildable, and an asset to the community and FC Cincinnati.

People walking past FC Cincinnati Stadium in the evening

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