Austin scores BIG with solar-powered sports stadium
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled plans for a new sports stadium and entertainment center in Austin, Texas, that will include soccer, rugby, basketball, rodeo, shopping, and dining facilities. The sprawling East Austin District is also aiming for self-sufficiency in electricity with a rooftop totally covered in solar panels.
The 1.3 million sq ft (120,773 sq m) East Austin District is designed in collaboration with Walter P. Moore Engineers and STG Design, and is arranged in a checkerboard pattern.
It will include a 40,000 seat outdoor bowl intended for large-scale soccer and rugby matches, as well as music festivals and other significant events. A 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena will host rodeos, musical acts, basketball, hockey and other programs.
Eight courtyards will be sandwiched between buildings to try and give the place more of a casual campus kind of feel than a typical stadium, and encourage communal gatherings, recreation, and live music. Markets, a theater, hotel, and retail spaces are also planned.
"Like a collective campus rather than a monolithic stadium, the East Austin District unifies all the elements of rodeo and soccer into a village of courtyards and canopies," says BIG boss Bjarke Ingels. "Embracing Austin's local character and culture, the East Austin District is a single destination composed of many smaller structures under one roof."
The East Austin District's entire rooftop will be covered in red solar panels that should allow it to be self-sufficient in electricity, which is no mean feat for a building of its type, even in sunny Texas. Furthermore, BIG says excess energy could eventually be shared with the wider community, though this reads more like an aspiration than actual concrete plan given that no energy figures are made available at this early stage.
We've no word yet on when the East Austin District is due to begin construction, or even if it's definitely going ahead.