The Stade de la Meinau soccer stadium in Strasbourg, France, is set to undergo a €100m transformation that will enable the venue to host major sporting events. Highlights of the project include an increase in capacity and the use of sustainable materials such as repurposing old aircraft fuselages as sunshades.
Populous has been appointed as lead architect for the renovation project of the stadium, which is the home ground of Ligue 1 club Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace.
The design seeks to modernize the existing stadium, bringing it firmly into the 21st century and allowing it to meet all the necessary requirements for hosting major sporting events, such as the French Ligue 1 championship and UEFA Champion’s League games as well as international games. The scheme will increase the stadium’s capacity from 26,282 to around 32,000.
Around the ground, the restructuring of the stands, with the addition of new, removable seating tiers, will lower front row seating and bring it closer to the pitch. The West Stand, also known as “The Kop”, will remain primarily a standing terrace.
There will be the creation of new fan spaces as with the renovation of the North, East and West Stands enclosing the concourses, allowing new bars and food and drink concessions to be incorporated, with a new internal service route connecting the stands. Outside the stadium, a fan zone will be developed in consultation with the community and the Club’s supporters.
In addition to this, the stadium’s South Stand will be expanded create new fan spaces and operational facilities centered around a glass-fronted five-story atrium, with new bars, hospitality lounges, and two “party decks” – open spaces overlooking the pitch for fans to meet up.
Sustainability and environmentally-friendly design is a big part of the Stade de la Meinau project. Taking advantage of the renovation strategy proposed by the municipality and the Racing Club de Strasbourg, the amount of demolition works required within the design has been reduced to an absolute minimum. The project is said to ‘take significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint and careful attention will be paid to the protection and retention of the local ecology’. Materials from the original building that are removed in the demolition process will be utilized in the construction process for the new renovations, and a suite of new environmentally sustainable design features will be incorporated into the building.
Among these it will feature the reuse of 4,400m2 of decommissioned A340 aircraft fuselage sections to create the south façade sunshade, the installation of nearly 1,000m2 of photovoltaic panels to the roof of the South Stand, rainwater recycling facilities, be powered by renewable energy (biomass), and use LED lighting.
“The renovation of La Meinau will bring Racing Club de Strasbourg’s supporters closer to the pitch in an environmentally controlled development. Sustainability has been key to our design strategy and includes an innovative upcycling approach to reuse Airbus A340 fuselages to for the main façade sunshade,” said Francois Clement, senior principal at Populous.
Works are expected to commence on site in May 2022, and the project will be completed in July 2025.