Bétrix, Consolascio, Frei & Ehrensperger
EXPRESSING A SENSE OF THE PUBLIC REALM
Typically the stadiums that have been designed and built in recent years are arenas financed by public-private partnerships in the urban periphery with other, not necessarily sport-related functions organised around the hermetically sealed “cauldron” of the pitch, all contained within a prominent building complex that forms a landmark in its surroundings. The new Letzigrund Stadium differs from this trend in just about every respect. Like its predecessor it stands in the midst of the town and is used not only to hold international athletics meetings, football matches and concerts but also as a venue for amateur soccer games and athletics meetings.
As it was financed entirely by the city there was no need to enclose the stadium with a ring of non-sport related functions and businesses. The architects used this rare opportunity to design an open complex accessible to the public in daily life. It has a special elegance and is gently integrated in its surroundings. Its elements are the crater in which the sports area is sunk by about eight metres, with stands that nestle up against the embankment and gradually reduce in height towards the west, the flying roof with its “dancing columns” and the ramp slung around the stadium. By reducing the stadium to its essential elements the complex is recognisable as a venue for major events; it is identifiable as a public open space due to the design of the elements that give it a parklike character, physical and visual permeability and a centrifugal dynamism, while not endangering its identity as a stadium. In this way the new Letzigrund expresses all the senses in which it is a truly public facility.
Location: Zürich, Switzerland
Client: Stadt Zürich - Immobilien-Bewirtschaftung
Engineers: Walt + Galmarini AG, Zürich - BlessHess AG, Luzern
Photography: Michael Egloff - Yves André - Thomas Mueller
Text: Christoph Baumberger