...A designer's impression of the new Lansdowne Road stadium...
The plans for the development of the proposed new Lansdowne Road stadium were lodged with Dublin City Council on Thursday. The proposed new 50,000-all seater stadium has been designed by international stadia architects, HOK Sport Architecture, working in conjunction with leading Irish company Scott Tallon Walker.
The new stadium,which has been budgeted to cost 365 million, is a joint venture between the IRFU and the FAI with the Government providing 191 million towards the funding. Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company (LRSDC), the company making the planning application, was set up by the IRFU and the FAI in September 2004 to manage the project on their behalf.
A one-year period has been allocated for due process on the planning application. Construction proper, depending on planning, is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2007 and to finish in the second quarter of 2009. The existing stadium will be available for matches during 2006.
When complete, the stadium will consist of a continuous curvilinear shaped stand enclosing all four sides of the ground. The South, East and West stands will have four tiers of seating for spectators. The bottom and top tiers will provide the main volume of spectating facilities.
The second tier will provide facilities for premium ticket holders and the third tier will provide facilities for corporate boxes. There will be 10,000 seats at premium level and a further 1,300 at box level. Many of these will be sold in advance to help finance the overall project.
The North stand will comprise of one low level seating tier, to reflect its proximity to the residential properties at that end of the ground.
There will be continuous access around the three sides to all facilities at premium and box levels. There will be excellent hospitality facilities throughout the ground. These facilities are essential in any modern sports stadium to generate additional revenues and help fund the overall investment.
The redeveloped stadium has been designed to provide superb facilities not alone for spectators but also for players, the media and the many support personnel needed to stage all events.
The unique design of the new stands and roof creates additional weather protected seating capacity within the constraints of the existing site. The design has been optimised to ensure all spectators have an excellent view of the pitch while retaining the unique Lansdowne Road atmosphere.
Space for the redevelopment has been created by a realignment of the pitch and by the creation of a new access podium over the railway line. This podium, which will be created above the railway line, will allow spectators access the stadium at premium seat level.
The existing two rear pitches that run East-West at the moment will also be realigned and combined into one pitch running North-South.
Among the many other features of the new development are:
- A more balanced, across the board network of access and egress routes that will make it easier and more convenient for spectators to get to and leave the stadium and will relieve the congestion on adjoining neighbours. These include underpasses which will mean the level crossing gates for the Dart can be left permanently closed on match days.
- Improved player facilities for home and away teams, custom designed to meet the requirements of the various codes. These include warm up rooms and state-of-the-art treatment facilities.
- Enhanced press facilities for up to 300 journalists including TV monitors, interview rooms and all modern connectivity requirements.
- TV/Radio commentary boxes located on the upper level with optimum viewing locations and easy access to flash interview positions, backed up by a generous outside broadcasting vehicle area.
- Provision of a large number of high quality toilets adequate both for match days and for events such as concerts where there may be a different mix of spectators.
- Quality medical support facilities for both players and spectators.
- Better facilities for disabled fans.
- Wide concourses and comfortable spatial allowances to ensure easy circulation for spectators.
- An architectural theme that is exciting and innovative in harmony with the surrounding cityscape.
- Clear delineation between spectator and service areas ensuring that service and / or emergency vehicles need never compete with spectators for the same space.
- A hi-tech communications nerve centre to allow for continuous monitoring of all aspects of the stadium, both inside and outside the ground.
- Pitch floodlighting incorporated in the new stands.
- Roof design that makes best use of available sunlight which is as low as physically possible while being compatible with cross-stadium viewing.