Dunedin, New Zealand is now home to the world’s first completely enclosed natural turf stadium. Designed by Populous, the Forsyth Barr Stadium was completed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The stadium, which can accommodate up to 31,000 fans, features an innovative UV blocking roof, protecting fans and players below.
The design team spent months researching the perfect material to use for the stadium’s unique roof, and finally agreed upon Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE. The space industry plastic blocks UV rays, while allowing sunlight through for the stadium to be mostly naturally lit. The ETFE also provides life-giving sunlight for the natural turf growing below, enabling the natural photosynthesis process to take place without being effected by the harsh elements of the weather.
The enclosed arena has endless possibilities, aside from football and rugby. Being shielded from the weather, it can be used year-round as a highly efficient public domain. Concerts, conventions and other ceremonies can take place during off seasons.
Ventilation slots are located throughout the stadium to ensure proper air circulation. The transparent roof also extends down the end of the building to create an open feeling so visitors feel that they are outdoors despite being in an enclosed space. The seating angles also emphasize this, while also bringing spectators closer to the action.
The enclosure also means that the stadium can maintain better growing grass that is unaffected by snow, wind or rain. The temperature on the interior can also be more easily controlled, not only saving on maintenance costs, but ensuring not one game will be rained or snowed out.
Images ©Darcy Schack : JAM Photographics Limited