For a century Eden Park has been the epicenter of rugby and cricket for New Zealand, making it the ideal venue for the country to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup Games. The stadium recently received a major upgrade with a new stadium and renovation to the surrounding grounds, transforming the famous sports park into a world class venue. An initiative spearheaded by sports stadium experts Populous, the incredible new stadium features a site sensitive design, energy efficient systems and improved public transportation access.
Eden Park is located in a historic neighborhood of Aukland, and with the construction of a new and much larger stadium many were concerned about the impact the large project would have on their daily lives. Populous, who was assisted in the design by local architects Jasmax, were active in creating a design that was sensitive to its residential neighbors.
The complex was redesigned, although some of the facilities were retained where possible, and extensive landscaping was added around the site to serves as a buffer zone. Trees and plants replaced concrete as a way to bring the stadiums development down to the level of the neighborhood. An acoustic barrier on the eastern side of the stadium was designed to contain the noise spillover into the neighborhood during sporting events. Additionally, the covering and shades for the spectators also helps contain light during night events to minimize light pollution.
Public transportation to the site before the renovation was seriously lacking, so new transport areas for buses and a connection to the rail line were constructed and sited away from the residential area. The new south stand and eastern terraces are wrapped in a translucent skin that enclose the concourse and integral activities of the stadium. This ETFE skin also protects from the elements, while still allowing light to enter into the walkways.
Eden Park held its first series of games in early November since its redevelopment for the Four Nations Rugby League tournament. In 2011, the stadium will serve as the main stadium for the Rugby World Cup, seating up to 60,000 fans. After the tournament, the stadium will return to Legacy Mode, accommodating 50,000 fans.