Gallery: New Zealand Completes the World’s First Daylit Enclosed Turf S...

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.

+ Populous Architects

+ Forsyth Barr Stadium

Via Architecture and Design

Images ©Darcy Schack : JAM Photographics Limited



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  1. shearwater August 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    My last post was a reactionary rant, I love green design and architecture and was stunned when you posted our new stadium as being green.

    Now I have calmed down I thought I would try to ask more rational questions about why you think our stadium is green.

    What specifically is green about a roof over a stadium? Why is building a massive new building out of all new materials green? did you look into any green certification or assessment of the building? or consider what else is already in the city?

    As a citizen of Dunedin city, with a love of green design, it feels like a kick in the face when you say our new stadium is green. Our city really needs all sorts of pressing green initiatives and these cannot not occur because they blew our budget on a big shiny new box. It really is sad.

  2. DeepBlue August 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    To defend the post, a retractable roof is not a completely enclosed stadium. So this is the first stadium with a permanent fixed roof and natural turf, as far as I can tell.

  3. coone August 12, 2011 at 4:47 am

    In the Netherlands there have been comletely enclosed natural turf stadium for over a decade.. Do some research please, don’t just copy paste information the architects would like you to believe.

    Proof: (Vitesse Stadium in Arhem, The Netherlands, called Gelredome) (Ajax Stadium in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, called Arena)

    I’m sure other countries have these kinds of stadiums too.. Any quick google search could have verefied that.. Inhabitat is nice to get some general updates, but the quality of the posts is always pretty poor.

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