“Oh! You have to say that’s magnificent!” Barry Davies wouldn’t need a Maradona worldie to get excited about when visiting Bordeaux’s new 42,000 stadium. Even empty — perhaps especially empty — the ground has a dazzling finish to make even the most experienced commentators break out the superlatives. Herzog & de Meuron are the architects of this emphatic victory, creating a temple-like structure at which the sporting denizens of the French city will flock to worship.
Located on an open piece of land near a lake, the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux presents itself very differently than many monolithic modern stadia. The largely unobstructed view on the approach to the structure has prompted the designers to do something interesting. Thin columns rising from the ground to the roof blend with the lines of trees and paths in the surrounding area, creating something of a copse which, along with the external terraces, draws the spectators in, rather than blocking them out with the usual forbidding wall of concrete or brick. The views inside the stadium are fantastic too, with no obstructions to spoil the spectacle — whether that be football, rugby, or concerts. The use of white with light grey accents put one in mind of Apple’s glory years. Perhaps in place of the stadium’s unwieldy official name they could nickname the place “the iStade”?