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Populous' takes Olympic tips for New Zealand stadium

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Global sports specialist Populous has confessed its design for a temporary stadium in earthquake-hit Christchurch was inspired by its work on the London Olympics

Due to open this month, the stadium will be the city’s only outdoor venue for sports and music after the AMI Stadium was badly damaged in last year’s earthquakes.

Populous, which has offices in London and Auckland as well as 10 other cities across the world, has provided architectural and overlay design for 35 venues involved in the 2012 Games, as well as designing the Olympic Stadium. The practice’s associate principal Daryl Maguire said fabric and graphics were being used on the stadium in a similar way to on the London Olympics project.

‘We learned from our work on the Olympic Stadium that clever use of a fabric roof and a stadium wrap made of strips of boldly coloured material could help create the drama necessary for such a high profile event, but was flexible enough to be part of the reconfiguration for a more modest building in legacy mode,’ he said.

‘In Christchurch, we are also using fabric for dramatic effect. A red, lightweight, fabric ribbon – the colour of the famous Rugby Union home team, the Canterbury Crusaders – will be woven through the scaffolding of the temporary stands to draw people in, and create a sense of occasion and excitement.’

Populous' temporary stadium for Christchurch

Populous’ temporary stadium for Christchurch - elevation

The 18,000-seat stadium will have the potential to increase its capacity to 25,000 for a major event such as a rugby test match.

Three temporary stands are being built using galvanised steel tubes in a scaffold truss system. The roof will consist of a white opaque fabric made of recyclable PVC.

Temporary seating, toilet and food facilities are being recycled from Auckland’s Eden Park, and stadium lights from Dunedin’s Carisbrook ground.

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