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Winners of RDS Arena redevelopment competition announced

A consortium of architecture firms, Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan Architects and London-based Grimshaw Architects, has won the international design competition for the multimillion-euro redevelopment of the RDS Arena.

The RDS, with Leinster Rugby, will work to complete the design of a world-class RDS Arena that will host professional rugby matches, equestrian sports, music concerts and other appropriate sporting opportunities as they arise.

Managed by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), the competition saw five designs anonymously shortlisted, with the winner chosen by a five person expert jury.

Speaking about the winning design, Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS said:

The jury was unanimous in their selection of the Newenham Mulligan/Grimshaw entry. Their winning concept represents an exciting design response to a complex brief. Entries had to accommodate professional rugby, world-class equestrianism and music concerts, in an already very busy events venue. These three elements were exceptionally well incorporated by the winning consortium who stood out for their understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the development and their vision for the RDS Arena.

Focusing on funding for the redevelopment, Duffy said:

Having secured our design team, the RDS’ focus is now on securing the necessary funding for this development. We have budgeted for an overall capital investment of at least €20m for the redevelopment. A number of potential funding streams are currently being explored, including naming rights.

Leinster Rugby will continue to play their home games as normal during the redevelopment of the RDS Arena, which is expected to begin in 2016.

Welcoming the announcement, Mick Dawson, Chief Executive, Leinster Rugby said:

This is a very exciting time for Leinster Rugby. We continue to make strides on the pitch with a home Champions Cup Quarter-Final against Bath to prepare for and we are naturally delighted to be making strides off the pitch and moving to the next stage of this project. Leinster Rugby has a loyal supporter base and the redeveloped capacity of 25,000 in a purpose-built venue will provide greater opportunities for our supporters and commercial operations.

Gate revenue is a significant feature of our current business model, and we are sure that this redevelopment will help with this, as well as allowing us to explore additional commercial revenue streams. At the moment we have a section of terrace for supporters and though the final plans are not yet complete, we hope to have a terraced section in the new stadium to accommodate people who prefer this. Though the majority of supporters will be seated.

Commenting on the significance for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, Dawson added:

A newly developed RDS Arena certainly has the potential to significantly add to the World Cup bid, and we hope to speak to the IRFU in due course.

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

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