PanStadia, 2010

''AndArchitects illustrate their innovative design for a twelve-sided faceted stadium arena, resulting in a dodecagon form'' ''The elevated corners set the design apart from the conventional stadiums, resulting in a dynamic and potentially iconic silhouette''

From the article:

AndArchitects was recently faced with the challenge of providing 10,000-20,000 seats in a new stadium. A key requirement of the brief was to ensure the spectator experience was exceptional and unique, another was to ensure costs were kept low comparable to a standard stadium arena.

In keeping with the move towards providing stadia that puts spectators as close to the action as possible, Manuel Nogueira, Director of AndArchitects, started the design process by reviewing the areas of a conventional stadium where the spectator experience is sometimes compromised.

The corners of stadia are normally designed as infill blocks between the straight stands and are somewhat of an afterthought, with the focus usually being on the long stands parallel to the play. The corner seats in a standard stadium are generally parallel to the touchline, which can result in spectators feeling removed from the action and compelled to turn their heads to look along the field. AndArchitects’ solution was to angle both the long and short stands at either end from roughly a third of their length, thus creating a completely new form; twelve-sided faceted arena. The spectators at the end of the stands are therefore facing the centre circle and not the side of the goal or along the touchlines. The resulting form is a dodecagon.

Enhanced Spectator Viewing

An effect of the resulting geometry is that the spectator in these angled sections of the stadium are elevated as the seats get closer to the corners. Normally from this seating position the corner kicker can obscure the goal mouth but from an elevated position the spectator can see the ball at all times. In addition, any players warming up along the touchlines do not inhibit viewing. Aesthetically, the elevated corners set the design apart from conventional stadiums, resulting in a dynamic and potentially iconic silhouette.

The dodecagon design means that spectators will feel more involved in the action and compromised viewing positions are avoided. The seating is kept as close to the touchlines as possible to create an intimate atmosphere. By having a more circular stadium, the crowd faces in on itself, creating a coliseum-like ambience.

Manuel was in some ways inspired by the cauldron-like bull-ring, where the atmosphere and emotion are as intimate and intense as possible due to the close proximity of the crowds to each other and the action. Other benefits of the raised corners are the ease of access onto the pitch with emergency vehicles, cross ventilation for the turf, and increased accommodation space in the under croft.

Ensuring costs don’t go through the roof

The top of the seating terrace forming the upper rim of the stadium is at a constant level. This creates a flat roof similar to the Stade de France, which can take the form of a covered but open-sided concourse, keeping construction costs down and ensuring easy access to half-time refreshments. Naturally for football spectators, views of the pitch would need to be screened but it would be possible to incorporate views out over the surrounding landscape or city.

Capacity is maximised mid-stand so that the central areas receive more revenue. By having a concourse at a high level, behind the terrace, the number of vomitories is reduced and therefore the density on the terraces is increased. The views within the stadium are also not compromised.

At the base of the dynamic buttress-like corner concourses and staircases help create atmosphere on match days, as spectators are able to watch the stadium being populated. These open corners also provide safe exit routes without the need to re-enter the building.

If the stadium is to be multi-purpose for concerts and other non-sporting events, then additional seats can be added to fill in the corners and complete the pure form of the dodecagon.