Work progresses on Christchurch Stadium in preparation for 2012 Super Rugby Season
While Christchurch continues the painstaking process of rebuilding after last year’s destructive earthquake, optimistic signs of renewal are emerging across the infrastructure landscape of the southern New Zealand city. One such symbol is the new Christchurch Stadium, designed by the global sports specialists Populous. Construction of the temporary stadium, on the site of Rugby League Park in Addington, is on schedule for completion in late March, in time for an early game of the 2012 Super Rugby Season.
The stadium, Canterbury’s only outdoor venue for major sporting and music events, is expected to have a life of between three and five years and stadium architects Populous are using fabric and graphics to embrace its temporary nature and give it a special identity. Populous, which led the design of both the Eden Park redevelopment in Auckland and the new Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin, is drawing on its experience with the London 2012 Olympics, and in particular the main stadium, to help create a unique gathering place in Christchurch.
Populous Project Director, associate principal Daryl Maguire said the stadium is designed and built to the highest safety standards, but fabric and graphics are being used as an imaginative and inexpensive way to ‘dress’ the stadium and create a something special: “We are working on 35 venues in London for the 2012 Olympics, most involving temporary facilities. We learnt from our work on the new Olympic stadium that clever use of a fabric roof and a stadium wrap (made of strips of boldly coloured material) could help create the drama necessary for such a high profile Event but was flexible enough to be part of the reconfiguration for a more modest building in legacy mode.
“In Christchurch, we are also using fabric for dramatic effect. A red, lightweight, fabric ribbon - the colour of the famous Rugby Union home team, the Canterbury Crusaders - will be woven through the scaffolding of the temporary stands to draw people in, create a sense of occasion and excitement.”
Christchurch’s main sporting and entertainment venue, AMI stadium, was among the buildings so badly damaged in last year’s earthquakes, it was unable to host any World Cup Rugby matches, and its long term future remains undecided. The new 18,000 seat Christchurch stadium, with two partially covered stands, will be the only outdoor venue for major sporting fixtures and concerts for the next few years. It will be flexible enough to be used for rugby league, soccer and concerts, and has the potential to increase its capacity to 25,000 for a major event such as a Rugby test match. The funding for the temporary stadium will be underwritten by the NZ Government, with support from the Christchurch City Council and New Zealand Rugby Union.
The pitch is a fully drained professional quality field, and the turf has been laid, recycled and harvested from AMI Stadium. Three temporary stands are being built using galvanised steel tubes in a scaffold truss system, replacing two old stands now demolished. The roof will consist of a white opaque fabric made of PVC which is recyclable. Food and beverage facilities will be placed around the perimeter on the four corners of the stadium and the venue will be lit to broadcast standards.
Photographs of the stadium to follow.