The Forest Green Rovers are building a new home for themselves, and borrowing from their team name to do so. The British non-league soccer club is building a brand new stadium that ought to make the players feel right at home, as it will be the first in the world to be constructed almost entirely from wood. To solicit designs for its new project, the Rovers hosted a design competition for the honor of designing their 5,000-seat stadium, which will serve as the centerpiece of the $126 million Eco Park development in Gloucestershire, England. More than 50 designs were submitted by architects from around the world, but ultimately it was the design from Zaha Hadid Architects that won the match.
Zaha Hadid is no stranger to ambitious and creative projects. Indeed, the same architects designed a stadium to be used for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, and also were the minds behind the London Aquatics Center, featured in the Summer Olympics of 2012.
“The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be almost entirely made of wood — the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world,” said Dale Vince, the Forest Green chairman. “We’ve done as much as we can to make our current stadium properly sustainable but we are limited with what we can do. It simply wasn’t built with the environment in mind.”
But with their new undertaking at Eco Park, Vince continued, “We’ve started with a blank sheet of paper and we’ll be going further than anyone has done before. This really will be the greenest football stadium in the world.”
As Dezeen reports, the Rovers’ new stadium “will feature an undulating bowl made up from slats of timber,” with each seat positioned to “give spectators uninhibited views of the pitch.”
And the stadium won’t be the only green undertaking. Indeed, the project also includes a nature reserve, a public transport hub, as well as the restoration of Stroudwater canal. The goal is for Eco Park to be, as its name suggests, carbon neutral or even negative, and for the development to generate its own energy. “The club’s heritage, ambition and vision reflect our own, combining the latest material research and construction techniques with new design approaches to build a more ecologically sustainable and inclusive architecture,” said ZHA director Jim Heverin. So here’s to the future of soccer and, more importantly, our planet.