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Forest Green Rovers FC launch international stadium design competition

Forest Green Rovers (FGR FC) have launched an international competition to design them an iconic new football stadium.

The new stadium will be the centrepiece of the GBP£100m development dubbed Eco Park – a 100-acre sports and green technology business park proposal beside junction 13 of the M5 in Gloucestershire – which is being proposed by green energy company Ecotricity.

Dale Vince, FGR Chairman, said:

This is the start of a very exciting process for us – we’ll be looking for radical, fan-focused stadium designs.

Sustainability will be key: we expect that to run through the core of the design, as through a stick of rock.

There are two aspects of that sustainability – first, it’s about sustainable construction, in terms of the material used, and second, it’s about the long term operational stability of the stadium.

We’re starting with a blank sheet of paper. We’ve taken the sustainability concept as far as we could at The New Lawn, our current stadium, and we learned a lot at the same time about what’s possible in a retrofit situation – now we want to push the boundaries with a design from scratch.

The competition will be held in three stages – after the initial entries, the judges will select a shortlist of eight designers, who’ll be asked to produce concepts. From these, FGR will select two finalists, who will be awarded an honorarium – and they will work up their ideas in further detail, including the production of a scale model. The winning design will be unveiled in September.

Half of Eco Park will consist of state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including the new stadium, grass and all-weather training pitches, multi-disciplinary facilities that will be open to the public, and a sports science hub. The other half will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably-built commercial offices and light industrial units, giving Eco Park the potential to create up to 4,000 jobs, including room for the continued expansion of Ecotricity, which is already the biggest employer in Stroud with 700 people located across four sites in the town centre.

The final element of the proposal is a nature reserve located on the west side of the M5. The overall concept also includes the potential development of a public transport hub, including a Stroud Park & Ride, and will also see Ecotricity help with the restoration of the Stroudwater canal under the M5.

Vince continued:

Eco Park is going to be a place where green businesses and technology companies come together and share ideas, a real focal point of creativity and innovation for the area – and a part of the green industrial revolution that’s beginning to take off around the world.

While there can only be one winner of the competition, we expect to find good people through the process who we might work with on the business park too – so this competition should lead to further opportunities for radical sustainable designs.

Design competition notes:

The club has appointed Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), one of the UK’s leading sports stadia experts, to oversee the competition.

The brief challenges architects to design a winning entry that will be “bold and innovative and designed to the highest architectural and sustainability standards,” as well as “sustainable and future-proof”.

Entrants have until the end of April to make their initial submission.

For further entry and competition details, interested parties should email: ecoparkcomp@fwp.uk.com