Architecture

Zaha Hadid Architects' timber stadium scores planning permission

Zaha Hadid Architects' timber ...
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium is now expected to be completed by 2023 at the earliest
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium is now expected to be completed by 2023 at the earliest
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Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium is now expected to be completed by 2023 at the earliest
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Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium is now expected to be completed by 2023 at the earliest
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will seat up to 5,000 people
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Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will seat up to 5,000 people
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will be almost entirely constructed from wood
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Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will be almost entirely constructed from wood
Though we usually associate ZHA with its gravity-defying concrete formwork, Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium's wooden detailing looks impressive too
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Though we usually associate ZHA with its gravity-defying concrete formwork, Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium's wooden detailing looks impressive too

Back in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) unveiled a stunning wooden stadium for the English soccer team Forest Green Rovers. Now, having finally received planning permission on the second attempt, the ambitious sustainable project is set to go ahead.

The Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will, according to ZHA, be the "world's first all-timber soccer stadium." It will be constructed almost entirely of sustainably-sourced timber, with a transparent roof membrane to mitigate shadows and an interior that highlights the natural beauty of the wood. Its overall shape and the position of its 5,000 seats have been calculated by ZHA to provide spectators with excellent views of the pitch.

Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will seat up to 5,000 people
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will seat up to 5,000 people

To further boost its sustainable credentials, Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium will be partly-powered by on-site renewable energy generation.

Indeed, Forest Green Rovers calls itself "the greenest football club in the world" and its current stadium offers an all-vegan menu and has been upgraded with electric vehicle charging points, rainwater collection, solar panels, and an organically-grown pitch.

Though we usually associate ZHA with its gravity-defying concrete formwork, Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium's wooden detailing looks impressive too
Though we usually associate ZHA with its gravity-defying concrete formwork, Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium's wooden detailing looks impressive too

Despite all this, the project, which is part of a larger development in Gloucestershire called Eco Park, originally failed to receive planning permission earlier this year, in part due to concerns over an expected increase in noise and traffic in the immediate area.

According to Dezeen, ZHA tweaked the design slightly to include an all-weather pitch and new landscaping, as well as an improved match day transportation plan. This did the trick and the Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium is now due to be constructed. Completion is expected to take at least three years.

Sources: ZHA, Forest Green Rovers

7 comments
FB36
IMHO, a wooden stadium would be a total disaster waiting to happen! This recent architectural trend of "sustainable" wooden buildings need to stop! History is full of examples of whole cities burning, because of all buildings were made of wood! Also, do we want massive termite etc bug infestations in all our cities? (And constant (costly) need for poisonous chemical treatments for all buildings?) And, do we want all world forests destroyed in the future, because of massive need for wood?
ei3io
Sorry FB36, every point you made its simply not the case. Id sugest you go read up on mass timber's values; 1. Mass timber [8" thick plus] is more fire proof than steel that looses 80% of its strength and collapses at wood stove temperatures, is lighter with much less fuel used to build with than concrete. 2. bugs dont infest dry wood. 3. Maximum sustainability is found in using wood that will rot into the earth if it is not put into a carbon holding pattern used in buildings and furniture etc for 100s of years. It is tree farmed while also adding more trees world wide as needed.
aksdad
ei3io, yeah...no. Thick mass timber beams may last for a couple hours in an intense 1800° fire test, but they are ON FIRE and slowly being consumed. They're still made of wood and they still catch on fire and burn. Steel and concrete don't. They will fail (above 2700°!) in an intense fire as we saw in the World Trade Center, but they don't catch fire like mass timber beams will.
buzzclick
Everybody wants that lovely "eco green" label associated with their projects. From the images we can see that the structure will require an unusual amount of lumber products. Steel, aluminum or concrete each have their own particular energy costs to manufacture, and wood as well. And not just ordinary wood. It takes many years to grow hardwoods, then cut, shaped, laminated, joined and finished with a suitable preservative process that also looks good. I'm not sure of the overall greenness since so much of it will be used. Fire is practically a non-issue. It's only a 5,000-seat stadium. Why is it located in the middle of wilderness? Stadiums are usually built in nearby accessible locations. The architectural design is pleasant, but I'm getting tired of the much sought-after facetious "eco" label. And it matches the Forest Green name of the football team, how nice.
ei3io
Aksdad, Mass wood timbers hold strength much longer than steel including the steel rebar in concrete. The wood's charcoal insulates the interior as gasses escape making it more fire proof with less gas and holding strength in the interior. Wood remains stronger than heat softened steel which looses 80% of it strength at 700 degress with 0% strength at 1100 degrees basically nearly a melted liquid. Therefore it is incorrect to say the steel fails at 2700 when in fact it starts failing a collapse at 50% strength at only 575 degrees 1/5th of that incorrect high claim.
TC56
I thought the FA had banned wooden stadiums after the Bradford City fire where 56 people died.
Worzel
ei3io ''2. bugs dont infest dry wood. '' Try telling that to the victim/vicars of hundreds of centuries old churches in England whose roof structures were infested with, ''Death Watch Beetle.''