Forest Green Rovers’ Eco Park stadium, planned in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK, claims to be the world’s first stadium to be entirely made from timber.
The project was part of the £100m ($125.5m) Eco Park development proposed by green energy specialist Ecotricity.
The stadium was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with a capacity of 5,000 and potential for future expansion. The design was chosen following an international competition conducted by Ecotricity.
The developer submitted a planning application for the project in January 2016 and construction was expected to start in 2017. In September 2017, Ecotricity announced its plans to revise the planning application for the development due to delay in the planning process.
Ecotricity plans to submit an amended planning application focusing on the development of facilities for Forest Green Rovers football club.
The Eco Park project was expected to create approximately 4,000 jobs and contribute £300m ($376m) to the local economy.
Forest Green Rovers’ Eco Park master plan
The original development plan aimed to retain the existing meadow landscape of the 100-acre site and develop complementary facilities. One half of the park was planned to feature sporting facilities, including the stadium, training pitches, multidisciplinary facilities and a sports science hub.
The other half of the development was proposed to include a business park featuring sustainably built commercial spaces and office buildings. Other facilities to be developed as part of the park included a nature reserve, a transportation hub and restoration of the Stroudwater canal.
The revised plan will move the wooden stadium to the north side and no development will take place on the south side. Plans to develop the business park have also been dropped.
The newly proposed plan will be supported by updated environmental reports with a focus on traffic, noise, lighting, biodiversity and landscape.
Eco Park timber stadium design
The new stadium will be made completely from sustainably sourced wood, including the structure, roof and the louvered cladding. The proximity of each of the stadium’s structural elements has been calculated to ensure that the seating terraces and the floor slab can be made from wood instead of concrete or steel. The use of timber for the elements also helps to reduce the amount of concrete and steel required for the foundation.
The green stadium will feature a cantilevered roof with its upper part being covered with a transparent membrane cladding. The membrane helps in turf growth and reduces shadows for players and spectators. It also reduces the visual impact of the stadium in the surrounding landscape when viewed from a distance.
The stadium pitch is also designed to provide clear views of the entire field of play to spectators.
The stadium will initially accommodate 5,000 people, which can be expanded to 10,000 in later phases without major construction works.
Electricity required for the stadium will be supplied through sustainable energy sources, making it more carbon neutral.
Materials used in Eco Park stadium
Ecotricity’s brief for the design of the stadium required a highly sustainable design that matched its image as a green company. Sustainable alternatives were required since roughly three-quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of buildings such as stadiums comes from their building materials.
Zaha Hadid Architects chose timber as a building material for the stadium as it is a natural material and has low-carbon content. Timber was also chosen because of its high durability, recyclability and sustainability.
Non-reflective materials, muted colours and natural textures will be used throughout the stadium to enable it to blend into the surroundings.
Contractors involved with Forest Green Rovers’ Eco Park stadium
schlaich bergermann and Max Fordham collaborated with Zaha Hadid Architects to design the stadium. Land Use Consultants provided ecological and landscape design services for the project.