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Hungary’s new eco-friendly Football Stadium of Nagyerdo


An eco-friendly 20,000-capacity stadium has opened its doors as the centrepiece of an environmentally-focused regeneration project in Debrecen.


Built on the site of the original football stadium, which was built in the 1930’s, Bord Architectural Studio was the firm responsbile for creating the re-designed Nagyerdo Stadium.

The design combines the woodland site with the city, providing easy access to this multi-purpose events centre, while maintaining the region’s natural beauty, Peter Bordas, lead architect on the project, explains:
Debrecen, the second biggest city in Hungary, is characterised by its expanded, loose urban tissue, wide, sunny streets, spacious squares and green areas. Nagyerdo is a wild forest in the heart of the city, where a lot of protected oak trees were waiting to be rescued in the neglected environment. As part of a complex development, the city decided to provide a large-scale reconstruction of Nagyerdo. The aim was to preserve the protectable genres in Nagyerdo and at the same time to draw the area in the city’s circulation as a city park providing a new, liveable, green environment. To encourage healthier life, the city decided to create new sport and recreational facilities in the forest and to refurbish the existing old football stadium in the heart of Nagyerdo that was built in the 1930’s.
In regards to designing a stadium to meet the demands of modern life, the architect first had to decide how the fans would access the stadium securely and how to set an industrial-like building complex in this woodlands setting. To solve these problems, Bordas’ stadium concept concentrates not only on the building itself but also on its wider environment, as he describes:
The access route for the spectators has to be clearly divided. To achieve this, a promenade lifted to the level of the tree canopies encloses the mass of the stadium like a ribbon. This architectural element defines the border of the most frequently utilised component of the park, thus creating a transition zone among the untouched nature and the artificial, man-made world. The up and down arched promenade serves as a running and cycling track, and it joins to an open air occasion square [plaza] and to other facilities in the park which are waiting for the citizens all through the year, even when there are no football matches in the stadium.
The transitional promenade leads fans from the woodlands into a man-made world, which features the stadium with its bars, restaurants, exhibition areas, fitness and wellness facilities. One stand-out feature is the stadium’s corporate/sky boxes, which afford views not only of the action on the football pitch, but also of the surrounding woodlands, as Bordas outlines:
The new stadium seeks to attract the atmosphere of the surrounding nature as much as possible, preserving the memory of the old stadium. Lounge areas for VIP guests are set above the access level, beneath the western stand, while the 24 sky boxes are located on the top of the building. Due to the special, asymmetric design of the stadium the sky boxes open up a panoramic view not only to the playing field, but also to the forest above the roof of the opposite stand.

To provide the highest level of comfort and experience for the spectators, the stands are formed as a perfect bowl. The stadium features numerous innovations, such as the unique steel skeleton of the roof structure, inspired by Andrea Chiner’s opera ‘La mamma morta’. White membrane sheeting is used for the skin of the double curvature roof,  which provides a particularly energetic, flowing appearance. On the nights when matches are played, the ‘balloon’ is illuminated with the colours of the home team and the stadium comes to life.

After 27-months of hard work on the design, planning and construction procedure, the stadium – one of the most modern in Middle Europe – finally became a reality this year, with the new Football Stadium of Nagyerdo opening its doors.
Image credits:

Main image (top of page): © Tibor Olah

Below (top & middle): © Tamas Bujnovszky
Bottom: BORD Architectural Studio
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