World’s first all-timber football stadium wins approval

Friday 17 Apr 2020

UK firm, Zaha Hadid Architects has won planning permission for the world's first wooden football stadium. It will be the home of Forest Green Rovers Football Club in Gloucestershire.

Upon completion, the ambition is to be the world's greenest football stadium, constructed entirely from timber and powered by sustainable energy sources. The first application for the 5,000-seater timber stadium was blocked in 2019. However, this second attempt was successful and approved by the local council.

Zaha Hadid Architects originally won the competition to design the stadium back in 2016. The whole structure will be built entirely from resourced wood, including the louvred cladding and cantilever roof. A specialist membrane will cover the stadium. This will allow the grass to grow naturally under the sunlight whilst reducing shadows that could distract players and the crowd during the action.

The football club is chaired by Dale Vince, founder of green electricity company Ecotricity. This connection was the driving force behind the need for renewable energy for the current and long-term objectives of the club.

The contemporary stadium has an organic grass pitch watered with recycled rainwater and makes use of photovoltaic panels to power its floodlights. The pitch is mowed through an electric-powered "mow bot" that makes use of GPS technology. It robotically cuts the grass, with the grass clippings given to neighbourhood farmers to put on their soil.

Kengo Kuma has recently executed the latticed wooden National Stadium in Japan, for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which has a metal canopy. The unique design by Zaha Hadid was controversially scrapped in 2015.


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