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Exclusive: Feyernoord's new waterfront stadium designed to revitalise Rotterdam

By Kim Megson    16 Aug 2016
The old stadium will be revamped as a multipurpose community complex, while a new stadium will be designed for the riverside / OMA
The design of the stadium has two sides; one that is completely open to the water, and another that’s more closed and intimate; that embeds the club and gives it safety.
– David Gianotten
Credit: OMA

One of the leading architects behind a new football stadium for Dutch club Feyenoord has told Sports Management how the development will revitalise a neglected part of Rotterdam.

David Gianotten, managing partner-architect for international studio Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), described how the firm’s design for the stadium reflects the fact that sport is an integral part of the city’s society and urban fabric.

“There were two previous attempts to build a new stadium for Feyenoord and they both failed,” he said. “Our analysis was that they failed because it was an object driven assignment – it was purely about building a new stadium or rebuilding the old one.

“So we talked to Feyenoord, and said, you shouldn’t just see this stadium as an object, you should see it as a part of the city. We want to use this opportunity to revitalise a part of Rotterdam that really needs it.”

Despite regeneration “not being the first thing football boards and directors are concerned about,” Gianotten said the club eventually agreed to OMA’s proposal and commissioned them to design a stadium complex for the city’s Veranda district.

The result is a project that will include a range of public leisure, healthcare, housing and social facilities located within the old De Kuip stadium, which will be completely redeveloped. The existing facilities will also be used to host community athletics programmes.

The regeneration will be completed by the creation of a new landmark stadium for Feyenoord, who play top-flight football in the Dutch Eredivise.

“We proposed building the new stadium on the waterfront as a starting point of a development of that area,” said Gianotten. “Rotterdam has ignored the River Maas for a very long time; it has developed with its back to it.

“The new stadium is located on a bend in the river – it’s a very visible spot that can be seen from the heart of the city but also from the ring road. On the one hand, it’s very visible and open, and on the other hand it needs to be well protected. So the design of the stadium has two sides; one that is completely open to the water, and another that’s more closed and intimate; that embeds the club and gives it safety.”

The club are now finding investors for the projects and OMA re completing the details of the design – including for a ‘strip’ between old and new stadiums which will feature shops, hotels, attractions, cultural spaces, sports facilities and parking.

“We’ll give it life, 24/7, so there are things happening even when there are no events at the stadiums, and it will act as a nice fan strip when there are games and events taking place,” said Gianotten.

Financial advisors First Dutch and infrastructure expert Operatie NL are also collaborating on the project.

Speaking earlier this year Gerard Hoetmer, Feyenoord president commissioner, said the new ground will be “a stadium with which the club can move forward into the upper echelons of the national league and therefore also Europe.”

Feyenoord  football  stadium design  architecture  OMA  David Gianotten  Eredivise  Netherlands  regeneration 
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