East Austin District complex announces solar power plans


The new multipurpose sports and entertainment complex in Austin, Texas will house both a 40,000-seat soccer stadium and 15,000-seat arena for rodeo and concerts – all under an innovative ‘checkerboard’ style solar roof.

The grand plan to transform the current Travis County Exposition Center in Austin, Texas into a 1.3 million square foot multipurpose sports and entertainment complex – complete with a 40,000-seat soccer and rugby stadium and 15,000-seat venue hosting rodeo events and concerts – will also be solar powered, it has been announced.

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the architectural firm leading the project, revealed the vision of a self-sustained structure by covering the ‘checkerboard’ style roof of the complex in red photovoltaic panels, which could eventually “share its energy resources community-wide, powering East Austin’s electricity and economy”.

While further details of how much power it would generate have not yet been revealed, energy efficiency and environmental initiatives are a growing focus for stadium development and the new East Austin District would not be unique in the use of solar panels. The Kaohsiung National Stadium in Taiwan has been 100% powered by solar since 2009, while an increasing number of sports teams, from the NFL to MLB, are focusing on installing solar panels and greener recycling efforts.

The new East Austin District is being described as an “entirely new sports and entertainment neighborhood” that will comprise of several separate venues and communal spaces all housed under a lattice of open and closed roofing inspired by the Jefferson Grid.

As well as the two stadia within the complex, there will be a hotel, theater, outdoor market, lawn areas and ‘outdoor living room’ courtyards, shopping, dining and retail space, and 28,000ft² of youth facilities for schools and community programs.

“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,” reads the release from BIG.

“The East Austin District is a single destination composed of many smaller structures under one roof. Part architecture, part urbanism, part landscape – the East Austin District is a complex capable of making tens of thousands of fans come together,” says Bjarke Ingels, founding partner, BIG.

December 20, 2017

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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