The Houston Dynamo and Populous today unveiled the design of the new Dynamo stadium set to open in 2012.
Designed to work within a compact project site, the stadium takes advantage of the urban landscape and creates a close relationship between the new building and the surrounding area. Elevated roughly six feet above the sidewalk elevation, ramps and terraces create a gentle transition to the street and surrounding city blocks and are supplemented by local materials and shaded planting. The shade surrounds the entry ramps at each of the four major corners of the site, and provides a comfortable yet clearly navigable urban space.
Rising above the tree canopy, the stadium alludes to the heritage of its new neighborhood through its use of simple industrial materials. Arranged in a distinctive tessellated pattern, the stadium skin evokes an industrial gem of individually composed, expanded metal facets. Punctuating this bold architectural form, the new stadium is highlighted in orange polycarbonate at three-story-high entries and throughout new spectator areas. Dynamo orange accentuates the unique design across the building, as all structures penetrating through the metal skin are clad in the same orange paneling.
Moving through the main entries, spectators are rewarded with a continuous wrap-around concourse experience. Primary spectator amenities, including concessions and restrooms, are located throughout the concourse, distributed on the interior side of the concourse between the seating bowl entries and on the exterior side in eight independent structures. At the southernmost edge of the concourse sits a large concession "lounge," with a direct view of the playing field.
Moving from the concourse to their new seats, fans will not be disappointed. Seating is arranged across a unique single bowl, which splits and shifts as necessary to allow for enclosed rooms with a view of the playing area. Thirty-three suites are inserted along the east and western sides of the bowl, providing the closest proximity to the field of any luxury suites in Houston. Rounding the corners, the north and south ends of the bowl peel back to create the lounge area on the south, while the north pulls back to provide a shallower standing area for fans.
A mezzanine club level on the western centerline of the stadium features an open-air patio with amazing field views. This new club is unparalleled in Major League Soccer and will provide ticketholders with a uniquely rewarding opportunity to experience the game. Above this area on both the east and west sides of the stadium lies a 70 foot deep roof canopy, running the full length of the soccer pitch and providing needed shade for Dynamo fans during sunny or rainy days. A third canopy, located above the south seating area serves dual function as both shade and roof for a concealed concert stage to be used on non-game days.
This is the fourth sports project Populous will have designed for Houston; the firm also designed Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, and Reliant Stadium. The firm has designed more than 70 professional soccer stadia around the world, including the recent main stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg and the upcoming stadium in Natal for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Populous’ Major League Soccer portfolio also includes new stadiums for the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Populous as our lead architect for this project,” says Dynamo President of Business Operations Chris Canetti. “We believe we have the best location for a soccer stadium in the United States, and Populous will help make our new stadium a truly unique home for Dynamo fans and help us create an atmosphere comparable to any in the world.”
Without sacrificing aesthetic or function, the stadium provides a new home for soccer, football, and concerts, creates an icon for Major League Soccer and the city of Houston, and gives fans of both music and sport a great new place for celebration and enjoyment. With its simple materials, bold color and design, the new stadium will be a unique home for one of America's premier soccer franchises.
“We set out to design the perfect urban soccer stadium; tight, atmospheric and intimate,” said Christopher Lee, Populous senior principal. “It’s a beautiful stadium for the beautiful game.”