In 2016, GHA were invited to join an international competition to design Forest Green Rovers’ new football stadium with a preliminary capacity of 5,000, with the ability to increase to 10,000 based on the club’s performance.
Despite not having previous football stadia design experience, from the initial pool of over 50 international architects, GHA were one of two finalists. During the course of the detailed design competition, GHA were able to develop a detailed understanding of the key elements of stadia design, working alongside leading sports industry consultants, Buro Happold. Our proposal was a sustainable, structurally viable and visually striking stadium, befitting of the client who had ambitions for it as a national landmark.
Ecotricity are the UK’s leading sustainable energy. Their brief, based on their own radical sustainable aspirations were for a truly green stadium. They have already made national press with their sustainability efforts which include not serving meat on match days and requiring all contracted players to follow a vegan lifestyle. We formulated a concept based on these principles which resulted in an organic and striking geometry. The competition design was also assessed against the latest stadia safety legislation such as the Green Guide.
The client was impressed by GHA’s recently completed Gloucester Services, 5 miles north from the stadium site, particularly in the way that we had addressed the brief and completely rethought the motorway services industry and typology. At Forest Green Rovers we also had the opportunity again to rewrite the rulebook and develop a new way of designing stadia by imaging what stadia could do for a community outside their primary function.
Whilst GHA did not ultimately win the stadium design competition, we were able to build important relationships with Ecotricity and key consultants which have proved fruitful. We are currently working on other high profile opportunities with them.