our approach to stadium renovation

02.03.2014  R&D

What makes renovation exciting is its power to transform and regenerate. Understanding its past, heritage and legacy as well as ambition of the owners and users is crucial. For the architect, it is an opportunity to help develop the identity of the Club and the City in which it is housed. Our scope of action ranges from improving efficiency, comfort and security to increasing capacity when and where needed. The redesign must contribute to building a lasting “mark” and making the difference.

A simple idea can often have an important impact on both the stadium’s quality as well as its revenues. It can be reorganising spectator flow to liberate areas, creating and improving hospitality facilities, modifying the pitch altitude to increase either capacity and/or improve spectator sightlines, redesigning the players’ interview space and mixed zone in order to improve the televised image, or enhanced the exterior architectural lighting to embellishes the stadium’s iconic value as a civic landmark.

The largest and most important modifications often address security, accessibility and stadium safety in general.  These types of fundamental improvements are to be treated with particular attention. They need to be planned very carefully and well ahead. Professional consultancy is essential to analyse design options, cost and maintenance issues. It is easier to associate these works with upgrading hospitality facilities, annexing real-estate development, searching for new sponsoring and naming rights to help finance these needed improvement.

The VIP areas, as important source of revenue, require the most attention as their users are increasingly demanding and are used to the best facilities and service. The market changes rapidly. Corporate clients compare the value with competing venues and need regular upgrades. A large variety of offers with ascending tariffs is a good strategy to capture and keep clients. As a consequence these spaces should be flexible, well serviced and refreshed regularly. Corporate clients and their guests are not necessary initiated to neither game nor the club. Therefore it is the duty of these spaces to “tell the story” and convey the spirit and heritage of the place and event.

Supporters and dedicated fans should take part in the renovation process. They are vital partners and their involvement always proves useful. Building “crowd power”, diversifying the public’s age and gender, adding amenities and improving security are among the subjects we address with supporters associations.

The whole process is built on the original architectural structure. Its original gesture is often lost or drowned by a series of additions and adaptations over time.  Our approach, whenever possible, is to remove the clutter in order to rediscover the iconic image of the place. Our role as architects is to catalyse its users and owners needs and ambitions with practical and durable solutions.

Tom Sheehan, Architect

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