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Iceland’s national stadium to be replaced?

AFL Architects has completed its assessment of Iceland’s Laugardalsvöllur National Stadium and is recommending a new 15,000 capacity stadium be built to replace it.

On behalf of Þjóðarleikvangur ehf, the KSÍ (Icelandic FA), the City of Reykjavík and the state, the team delivered an Outline Business Case (OBC) complete with a recommended option for future development.

The full report includes extensive analysis of the current position and key international data/ benchmarks to develop and test a series of potential scenarios.

These scenarios comprised of redevelopment, new build, roofed and non-roofed options, for which initial layouts were drawn up with full consideration of the numerous environmental and geotechnical challenges in the region.

These options were subsequently analysed against demographic and attendance figures and costed with due regard to P&L projections.

The final recommendation, when all factors were considered, is a new stadium of 15,000 capacity with an openable roof.

This proposal has been taken forward by the client for a final decision to be made by the Icelandic government, KSÍ, and the City of Reykjavík.

Árni Geir Pálsson, chairman of the board, Þjóðarleikvangur said:

As lead consultant, AFL Architects have exhibited an obvious determination to produce a successful venue for the Icelandic nation. Their recommendations have been delivered clearly, with inspiring and meaningful design solutions. I look forward to the future vision of Iceland’s National Stadium to be made a reality.

John Roberts, director, AFL Architects, said:

To be selected by our client for such a nationally and historically important project was an honour for our team. It has been a testament of our ability to work openly and collaboratively, encouraging diverse ideas and bringing forward workable, effective solutions to some truly unique challenges. I am confident the vision we have delivered will be achieved. Iceland deserves a stadium that reflects their extraordinary footballing achievements.

Part of AFL’s appointment hinged on the assembly of a specialist team supported by skilled, local representation. The team is a consortium of AFL / IPW… / Core Five / Hilson Moran and Ramboll. Local representation included Mannverk, Mannvit and Arkis, who have provided valuable geotechnical, climate and cultural advice to the project.

Empty stadium (Laugardalsvollur in Iceland)

Laugardalsvöllur, currently at 9,800 capacity, was built in 1957 and has been renovated in several phases since.

It is the second smallest capacity of any national stadium for any European country currently ranked in the FIFA World Top 100 teams and is not fully compliant with UEFA Category 4 requirements. It has therefore required exemptions and special preparations to host competitive matches in international tournaments.

Iceland’s men’s team reached a peak world ranking of 18 and are currently ranked 39th, while 10 years ago they were outside the top 130 teams in the world.

The women’s national team is currently ranked 19th in the world by FIFA.

The delivery of this OBC is therefore hoped to be the first step towards realising a venue that best reflects the country’s growing accomplishments.