Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) won the competition to design a stadium for Stroud-based football club, Forest Green Rovers, making it the first stadium to be made entirely of timber. The architectural firm, famously known for its innovative designs, proposed a design that focuses on sustainability. Almost every element of the stadium will be made of sustainably sourced timber, according to ZHA’s director Jim Heverin. ZHA’s previous projects include the Olympic Park stadium in London and another stadium for the 2022 World Cup.
“The importance of wood is not only that it’s naturally occurring, it has very low embodied carbon — about as low as it gets for a building material,” said Dale Vince, Forest Green Rover chairman and founder of the green energy company Ecotricity.
“And when you bear in mind that around three quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important.”
The stadium and a larger “Eco Park” containing a range of sporting facilities aim to be carbon neutral or negative, according to Heverin, using on-site renewable energy generation among other measures.
The design is intended to retain the site’s “pastoral qualities,” according to Heverin. Set in a meadow landscape, the stadium is part of a larger project envisioned by ZHA to create a new public area and new facilities for the town of Stroud. The proposal also includes the development of a nature reserve on the site.
The roof will be covered in a transparent membrane intended to enhance turf growth while minimizing the volume of the stadium in the surrounding landscape when seen from a distance.
Allowing for the club’s future growth, the stadium has initially been designed to hold 5,000 spectators, with the possibility of expanding to 10,000.