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FC Nantes reveals proposed design for striking new stadium

By Kim Megson    11 Apr 2018
US sports architects HKS and French practice Atelier Tom Sheehan & Partenaires have created the concept for the YelloPark Stadium, which includes a fixed roof with a retractable oculus / FC Nantes

French football club FC Nantes has revealed the first design sketches for its planned new 40,000-capacity home stadium in western France.

US sports architects HKS and French practice Atelier Tom Sheehan & Partenaires (ATSP) have created the concept for the YelloPark Stadium, which includes a fixed roof with a retractable oculus. The traditional horizontally stratified organisation of a stadium will be reinvented to create “a tailor-made experience for each ticket category” – including different leisure amenities.

Designed to host both national and international events – potentially including matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games – the future stadium has been conceived as “a modern, welcoming, safe, connected and up-to-the-minute stadium for passionate football audiences.”

Located near the club’s current home of three decades, the Stade de la Beaujoire, the new ground will be more compact, with stands situated closer to the pitch, and will feature a 360 degree interior screen.

It will sit at the heart of the wider YelloPark leisure district, masterplanned by architect Dominique Perrault, embedded into the natural topography of a ‘garden city’ inspired landscape. Pathways will link the stadium with a central square featuring restaurants, a club museum and shops. The neighbourhood will also have a health and wellness centre, a market hall, up to 2,000 housing units and a number of parks – including one formed from the current pitch at the Beaujoire, the rest of which is set to be demolished,

Spectators will be guided into the ground via differentiated entrances, formed by fluid lifts in the building's facade. Circulation routes around the perimeter will be covered by the striking 25,500sq m (275,000sq ft) fixed part of the roof, which projects outwards to offer protection from bad weather. Photovoltaic panels may also be added to produce solar energy to power both the stadium and part of the new district.

The retractable oculus, 125m in diameter, will be used to optimise natural light and ventilation, change the atmosphere and conditions for different types of event and create a sense of openness.

In a statement, the club said: “YelloPark is the realisation of a need expressed for several years for a football stadium that can meet the ambitions of FC Nantes, the city and its metropolis.

“We want a stadium for all those who come or will come with family or friends: welcoming, fluid and accessible to all. We would like to offer a comfortable and lively modern and connected environment while keeping the festive mood and popular spirit of the Beaujoire stadium.”

Speaking about the selection of the design team, club president Waldemar Kita said: "The combination of the two firms has retained our preference for several reasons: firstly, for their international experiences and expertise in stadium construction; secondly, for their ability to understand stadium operating issues, as well as for their optimised budget approach within a defined framework; and finally, for their capacity for innovation.”

Nantes currently compete in France’s top division, Ligue 1, competing against a number of other teams who have expanded their stadiums in a bid to achieve their ambitions. In 2016, Lyon opened the Populous-designed Parc Olympique Lyonnais,* while the year before Herzog and de Meuron completed a new home for Bordeaux, supported by 900 slender white columns.

*To read a feature-length article on the Lyon stadium, click here for Issue 113 of CLAD's sister magazine, Sports Management.

Spectators will be guided into the ground via differentiated entrances, formed by fluid lifts in the building's facade / FC Nantes
The design includes a 360 degree interior screen / FC Nantes
FC Nantes  France  HKS  Atelier Tom Sheehan & Partenaires  YelloPark Stadium  Stade de la Beaujoire  Dominique Perrault  Waldemar Kita 
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