Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich

Feelings ran very high in Zürich when plans were unveiled to dismantle the old Letzigrund Stadium and replace it with a new one on the same site. The old stadium, opened in 1925, had always been an integral part of the identity of this city-edge district. But stadiums these days have to offer a lot if they are to ­entice football fans away from the television. And if, as in this case, they were scheduled as a venue for the European Football Championships 2008, change was needed. For reasons of time, the old stadium had to continue in operation while the new one was being built. As the new facilities were concentrated outside the old structure on the west side, work here was able to proceed while the old part was being demolished. Amphitheatre-style, the pitch is sunk a few metres into the ground and surrounded by tiered seating. This results in a lower height for the finished stadium, in keeping with the scale of the surrounding district. A ramp ­running round the perimeter affords a view of the city and stadium. Openness and community benefit were guiding influences in the design – there are no closed facades and the eight entrances remain open, even outside of playing times.
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