Woods Bagot has unveiled a new football stadium for Rome with a design that draws inspiration from the Italian capital’s iconic landmark, the Colosseum.
Located on the outskirts of Rome's historic city centre in Tor di Valle, the stadium will be known as ‘Stadio della Roma' until naming rights are secured.
Stadio della Roma will be home to Serie A champions AS Roma. The football club is currently sharing Stadio Olympico, which was built back in 1937, with other Serie A club Lazio.
Stadio della Roma will offer seating for 52,500 spectators with the ability to expand to 60,000 for major matches. It will be Europe’s first carbon neutral stadium and will offer a natural grass pitch.
According to Woods Bagot, the stadium will combine past and present aesthetics to reflect the rich history of Italy while also implementing technology, modern materials and the innovative and clean aesthetic associated with Italian design.
“The design draws visual cues from the world’s most historic spectator venue, the Roman Colosseum,” said Woods Bagot sport design leader, Dan Meis. “For an architect who has spent much of his career designing stadiums, and most of his vacations in Italy, the Stadio della Roma truly is a project of a lifetime."
"Rome has an unparalleled architectural history. To be able to build anything there is a gift, to build a new home for AS Roma and the most passionate fans in football is heart stopping."
The stadium itself will be constructed in state-of-the-art steel and will feature a concrete seating bowl wrapped in a ‘floating’ scrim that Woods Bagot says is “evocative of the rhythmic façade of the famous arena.”
The polycarbonate clad roof will be reminiscent of the roof that once covered the upper tiers of the Colosseum, the first sports stadium with a retractable roof. The Colosseum also has a capacity of 60,000.
The seating of the new stadium will stretch over three tiers and will include premium seating options in the form of suites, loge boxes and club sections, all of which will feature luxury amenities. This is a rarity in many of Italy’s current sports stadiums, many of which were built decades ago and don't have provisions to serve corporate clients.
The stadium will also feature a large hydraulic lift that will orchestrate a dramatic entrance for players during warm-up, similar to the gladiator lifts used at the Colosseum.
Each seat will offer unparalleled views of the action, along with Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity.
For AS Roma fans, a distinctive design feature of the new stadium will be the new “Curva Sud,” a curved seating area set to house 14,800 diehard fans behind the goals. This feature echoes a distinctive section of the club's current stadium.
“Long recognised as the section of the existing Stadio Olympico that is home to AS Roma’s ultra-supporters, the new stadium will have a steeply pitched, clearly delineated separate section of 14,800 seats, with a more ‘muscular’ and raw architecture to provide a clear and unquestionable identity as the heart of AS Roma fans," Woods Bagot said.
The new stadium will also include a state-of-the-art training facility for AS Roma outside the grounds.
According to Woods Bagot, Stadio dello Roma will be Europe's first truly sustainable major sports venue with its carbon neutral footprint, maximum recycling capabilities and highly modern renewable energy and conservation programs.
While the stadium is being built specifically for football, it will be easily adjustable to house other events with features including retractable stage canopies, rigging and turf protection systems.
There will also be a Roma Village outside the grounds, an AS Roma-themed restaurant complemented with retail, and dining and entertainment spaces turning the stadium into a year-round Roman destination.
Upon completion, AS Roma will be the third team Serie A team in Italy to have a stadium to call its own following Juventus and Sassuolo Football Club.
The Stadio delle Alpi, home to Juventus, was opened at the start of the 2011-12 season and can house up to 41,000 spectators.
Like Stadio del Roma, Juventus’ stadium was built to be sustainable, with features to reduce energy consumption and waste, as well as stringent water strategies which reuse rainwater and reduce at least 50 per cent of water needed for irrigation of the field. Concrete from the old stadium was reused for the new structure.
The renewal and construction of new stadiums across the globe is rising driven by a desire to engage today's sports enthusiast, create public architecture and build collaborative spaces. Football in particular is a global sport and plays a large role in culture and peace-building and is played in spaces where people congregate.
A 2013 article by KPMG and gmp Architects entitled A Blueprint for Successful Stadium Development focuses on this growing trend revealing that while the rules of football have not advanced much over the last century, the football stadium will need to, particularly over the next decade.
“Understanding the ‘spectators’ changing needs and requirements is of paramount importance for developing a venue capable of maximising fan engagement, the commercial opportunities deriving from a modern stadium and consequently, the project stakeholders’ return,” the article reads.
The article also reveals that in the top European football leagues, over 120 stadiums have been built since 2000, though the majority of stadiums were built more than 35 years ago lacking the ability to serve today’s supporter and the corporate segment with business opportunity particularly high in Italy and France.
In Studio della Roma's case, this stadium design will set a benchmark for the country, demonstrating that design can offer modern amenities and still reflect history. Work on the stadium is scheduled to be completed by the 2016-17 Serie A season and is estimated to cost €300 million.