When architect Jim Grimley of Reiach and Hall was first introduced to the idea of a virtual Million Seater Stadium his imagination went into overdrive.
He thought the idea was brilliant but now he had to design it! What on earth would a football stadium with one million seats look like and how would people be able to get it in? What about the sight lines and how could everyone get a great view?
As with other projects his initial time is always spent on research. So, he spent his time looking at other football stadiums around the world – the biggest ones of course and then the most iconic. He worked online and traversed the world looking at football stadiums starting with the La Bombonera, the famous stadium of Boca Juniors and then studied many others including Camp Nou, the Kop end at Anfield and Easter Road in Edinburgh where he is based.
He drew many sketches. He wanted the stadium to be spectacular but also functional. It needed to look like a football stadium but because it was a virtual there were no barriers to what might be possible. There was a sci-fi element to the whole process and just pure fantasy. The possibilities were endless.
After Jim had exhausted his look around existing football stadiums he started to study other concepts.
There’s a copper mine in Utah which has created a massive hole in the ground and that image provided some influence on what the final stadium might look like. He looked at Greek and Roman amphitheatres, epic designs by 18th century visionary Étienne-Louis Boullée and studied a huge Chinese satellite dish which has been developed to study outer space.
More sketches. The stadium is coming into focus a little more now.
But the stadium needed a look and feel which was connected to football. Jim looked again at the geometry of La Bombonera and scaled it up. The geometry had to be very steep so that everyone could get a great view but the sloping arena would also create an incredible atmosphere. With no planning or building regulations to comply with, the design of the stadium could be pushed to the absolute limit in order to make it a unique and phenomenal experience for the football fans.
It may well be a virtual fantasy but it had to be a realistic football stadium.
Satisfied that he managed to merge these two concepts together, Jim’s sketches now had harder edges and he was consulting colleagues about how the first designs might work. Like a bright star crossing the sky the Million Seater Stadium was coming into view.
The first image is shared here.
The story continues next week as the mechanics behind the sheer size of the Stadium are worked out. Exciting times as the Million Seater Stadium prepares for launch.