Roaring crowds, bright lights, and elaborate shows are all part of the visceral human feeling we have at stadiums. For a long time, people have been fascinated by the experience of large performances. These concerts and sporting events, as well as their buildings, are essential components of the human experience.
Looking at one of our best-known examples, the Colosseum in Rome is demonstrative of the potential impact for such architecture in the city. In ancient Rome, the arena was the functional center of the city during its use. Today, we still feel that same undeniable connection in the Colosseum’s massive presence.
To relate a modern example in a different tradition, the Football Club Internazionale Milano is seeking a new home after nearly a century in Milan’s San Siro Stadium. In its current state, and like many stadiums around the world, it bears little relation with its environs both spatially and socially. This distance between function and connection reduces its potential for positive neighborhood influence.
In a time when resource use is at a premium and sustainability is paramount, it is negligent to let such an intervention go unnoticed from an urban planning perspective. If we design places that are a part of the natural city fabric – meaning urban proximity, transportation, and services – stadiums can serve as economic drivers and community creators.
New generation stadiums are commercial service centers aimed at full-time use and urban integration. In a presentation for Euroborg Stadium in Groningen, Netherlands, The Stadium Consultancy displayed a “mixed-use” model that provides local commercial and office activities, in conjunction with infrastructure provisions, that can help reduce the “island” effect of large, single-use structures.
Returning to the Milan context, the development of a new stadium is an incredible and rare opportunity. It has the potential to reclaim wasted space, and transform it into a functional nodal center.
Can you identify an underused area such as this one, and how would you reshape it?
Credits: Photographs by Maxwell Vidaver. Images and data linked to sources.