The New Bordeaux Stadium
Stadiums are usually monumental facilities that burst with combinations of architectural elements, producing contrasts, paradoxes, and fusions that speak for themselves, but not with the new Bordeaux stadium. Less is -in this case- indeed more elegantly phrased than most of the football stadiums ever built, where Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s impact on the minimal design is more than evident, allowing Herzon & de Meuron to succeed in implementing a deep cultural french touch rarely ever cherished as a conceptual factor in sports building of any kind.
The size of the new stadium posed a challenge for the designer rather than a comfort point, as the perfection sued after was the famous french prototype kind of perfection. The result is this simple, plain white, yet monumental building. The architect explains “The new Bordeaux stadium appears light and open; it is elegant, if such a term can be used for a building of this size. Its purity and geometrical clarity inspires a sense of monumentality and gracefulness.”
And though the Bordeaux Stadium might look like a french scaled-up modernist sculpture, it has much more than the scale to it. The concept behind the building strongly bonds with the site, explained by the architect “The choice of this pure and almost abstract form responds clearly and efficiently to the site’s natural conditions and to the main flow of spectators from east to west.” The structure is a “Bowl and Columns” structure, as referred to by the architect. The bowl, seating 42,000 people, allows for optimal visibility, and complete flexibility when it comes to usage and capacity. “The stadium is multifunctional and conceived to welcome a rich and diversified program: not only rugby and soccer matches but also shows, concerts, and corporate events.” explains the architect.
The stadium has been widely welcome by critics and fans alike. Jack lambert the EURO 2016 SAS president describes it as “one of the stand-out examples of the new generation of stadiums that organizing UEFA EURO 2016 has allowed France to build”. This is not new in terms of the firm’s reputation, as it is experienced in large scale projects and urban development, with almost four decades in the field. It has been awarded numerous prizes including The Pritzker Architecture Prize (USA) in 2001, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK) and the Praemium Imperiale (Japan), both in 2007. In 2014, Herzog & de Meuron were awarded the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
By: Hazem Raad