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Construction of Populous' LED-wrapped FC Cincinnati stadium moves forward

By Stu Robarts    30 Sep 2019
The stadium will feature a vertical façade of 513 fins lit by colour-changing LEDs / Populous
We incorporated a lot of research and first-person feedback from fans and executives around the league with the goal of setting a new standard for both design and experience.
– Jeff Berding

Foundation work is ongoing and steel work is due to commence at FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium, for which new designs were released by Populous this summer.

The club briefed Populous, who are working with engineers BuroHappold, to deliver “an iconic and groundbreaking design for the city while prioritising and amplifying the fan experience.”

With that in mind, the firm included a vertical façade of 513 fins lit by colour-changing LEDs. The east-facing portion of the façade will be able to play motion sequences.

A cantilevered roof structure, meanwhile, has been designed to allow sunlight onto the pitch and to capture and channel the sound of the crowd to help build atmosphere within the stadium.

Phil Skellorn, associate principal and leader of the structural engineering team at BuroHappold’s sports practice, told CLAD: "Sports venues typically command the need for larger scale enclosures that tend to push the demands imposed upon the structural system, often resulting in engineering influences becoming ever more apparent in the design. The need for an effective and responsive structural solution will play a huge role in the successful delivery of these building types.

"The structural solution for West End Stadium strives to maximise economy and buildability by adhering to well-practiced construction techniques, clear and discernable load paths and simple detailing, exploiting repetition wherever possible. An entirely steel superstructure, utilising as much pre-assembly as possible, will improve on site quality whilst condensing erection time, allowing the project team to meet a challenging schedule and deliver the stadium for the MLS 2021 season. By leveraging the latest in computational design technology and VR communication, the team has been able to effectively develop and coordinate the programmatic demands of the project, whilst judiciously evolving the more expressive architectural elements that will set this stadium apart and provide FC Cincinnati with an iconic home venue."

The $250m (€229m, £203m) stadium will have a capacity of up to 26,500, including a 3,100-seat safe-standing zone that will be angled at 34 degrees to offer optimal sight-lines for fans. All seats will be covered by a 360-degree canopy roof.

"We incorporated a lot of research and first-person feedback from fans and executives around the league with the goal of setting a new standard for both design and experience," said FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding. "We firmly believe we’ve not only matched the league’s best, but pushed the bar further and will deliver a superior fan experience for our incredible fan base."

Ground was broken at the site towards the end of last year, but the original designers, Meis Architects, were replaced in March – and subsequently their designs too. West End Stadium is scheduled to open in March 2021.

The east-facing portion of the façade will be able to play motion sequences / Populous
Construction of the stadium will cost $250m (€229m, £203m) / Populous
The stadium will have a capacity of up to 26,500 / Populous
A cantilevered roof structure has been designed to allow sunlight onto the pitch / Populous
The canopy roof will help to capture and channel the sound of crowd / Populous
stadium  Populous  Cincinnati  FC Cincinnati 
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