The latest score: Populous designs a new stadium for Olympique Lyonnais
If anyone knows how to create high-spec event-led architecture, it's Populous. The sports-focused studio quickly rose to prominence after securing a prestigious commission to build the ANZ Stadium for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Ever since, the firm has seen exponential growth, with a number of offices springing up in locations worldwide.
The most recent addition to the firm’s ever-growing portfolio is the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, built as the new home to the French football team; the €300 million stadium was recently unveiled after nearly 10 years in the making. At night, the stadium's roof is lit from within, in reference to the region's Fête des Lumières. It also becomes a beacon for Olympique Lyonnais and their loyal fan base.
The 53,700 sq m stadium is equipped with an array of event spaces to cater to large numbers of visitors. Bars, meeting rooms and banquet halls are accompanied by 110 executive suites and eight slick corporate lounges. The Grand Stade de Lyon – as it is lovingly referred to by the city’s residents – can even be transformed into a cultural event venue, accommodating 60,000 spectators.
The roof was designed to echo the local forest canopy, providing the stadium’s seated visitors with protection from the elements, while creating a new sheltered social area around its perimeter. The Grand Stade has an impressive lineup of events coming up and is set to host numerous matches at the UEFA Euro 2016 games, including the first semi-final on the 6 July.
It was important for the architects that the internal program created a special experience for the supporters. ‘The north and south stands are specifically designed to facilitate the traditional singing between Olympique Lyonnais home fans, creating a cacophony of noise and support for the home team,’ explains project architect and Populous principal Garry Reeves, who spent ten years between London and Lyon, overseeing the works.
The firm, which is behind some of the world's most prolific sporting venues, has London’s O2 Arena, Yankee Stadium, Wembley Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and buildings within the London Olympic Park under its belt. They are also passionate about creating aesthetically stimulating and efficient, functional spaces; cultivating communities that, above all, create long-lasting memories.
‘Working with Olympique Lyonnais on such a momentous project has been a fantastic experience, and has resulted in a stadium design which really speaks to the culture of both the club and the city,’ says Populous' senior principal architect Nicholas Reynolds of the stadium's positive impact on the surrounding community. It's a result to cheer about.