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Zaha Hadid Architects wins Forest Green contest with all-wood stadium


Zaha Hadid Architects has beaten Glenn Howells Architects to win the contest to design a new sustainable stadium for Forest Green Rovers football club in Gloucestershire

The 5,000-seat carbon-neutral scheme for the ambitious all-vegan club will be built entirely from wood – a world first for a football ground.

The stadium will be the centrepiece of a planned £100 million Eco Park next to junction 13 of the M5, straddling the A419 heading into Stroud.


The practice, which is also designing one of the five stadiums for the next World Cup in Qatar, said its concept combined ‘the latest material research and construction techniques with new design approaches to [create] a more ecologically sustainable and inclusive architecture.’

Jim Heverin, director at Zaha Hadid Architects, said: ‘With the team’s community and supporters at its core, fans will be as close as five metres from the pitch and every seat has been calculated to provide unrestricted sight lines to the entire field of play. The stadium’s continuous spectator bowl surrounding the pitch will maximise matchday atmosphere.

He added: ’The buildings on the site, and their embodied energy … demonstrate sustainable architecture can be dynamic and beautiful.’

Zaha Hadid Architects and Glenn Howells saw off seven other practices, including Gianni Botsford Architects, AFL Architects and Singapore-based DP Architects, who were also vying for the high-profile scheme near Stroud.

zaha hadid architcts ZHA FGR Concourse Zaha Hadid Architects render by VA

Organised by Frank Whittle Partnership, the contest sought proposals for a new ‘sustainable and future proof’ home ground and attracted more than 50 entries.

The club, formerly known as Stroud FC, has been based at the New Lawn stadium in nearby Nailsworth since 2006.

Following Vince’s acquisition of the club six years ago, the venue received a flurry of green upgrades including new solar panels, a solar-powered robot grass mower and the word’s first organic football pitch.

Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince said: ’The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be entirely made of wood – the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world.

Our new stadium will have the lowest carbon content of any stadium in the world

’The importance of using wood is not only that it’s a naturally occurring material, it has very low carbon content – about as low as it gets for a building material.

‘And when you bear in mind that around three-quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important, and it’s why our new stadium will have the lowest carbon content of any stadium in the world.’



Readers' comments (4)

  • Carbon Neutral? As the move from a site in the town to one by a motorway junction? What's the carbon impact of all those extra car journeys?

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  • I wonder if this won't go the way of Dartington Primary School? Have the desingers paid any heed to how ugly wood looks after a few years? And then, those cantilevered roof supports - anyone taking bets on how they will buckle and bow and look like a roller coaster?
    I'm sorry to say it, but this has the appearance of another hare-brained scheme to conform with the current eco-craze.

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  • Timber ages well if detailed well. Can't tell anything from CGIs but suspect there may be some stainless steel plates and bolts in there somewhere to make it stand up or are they putting oak pegs to the test?

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  • Perhaps we can finally find a great reason to go watch the football, anyone else up for it ?

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