Expansion of the Stadio Druso in Bolzano

Following the qualifying competition, gmp Architects was commissioned to implement the conversion in a consortium with Dejaco + Partner of Brixen and Ingenieurteam Bergmeister of Bolzano as regional partners.

The trend toward dedicated soccer stadiums is also finding acceptance in smaller, previously multifunctional venues. As in the larger arenas, stands bordering directly on the playing field – without a gap formed by a track – create a tighter atmosphere even on a smaller scale and, with today’s demand for differentiated spaces, also represent considerable economic benefits for operators. The reason for the redesign of the municipal Stadio Druso in Bolzano is to further FC Südtirol’s efforts to comply with the Italian Serie B standards.

The Stadio Druso is located in the city center, below the estuary where the Talfer River flows into the Eisack. It comprises the opposing stands “Zanvettor” and “Canazza,” which differ markedly in their character. The unusual feature in the pending conversion is the grandstand’s monumental, listed façade from the 1930s, which is to be retained and appropriately integrated into the design.

During the first construction phase, the stadium will be refurbished and its capacity increased from the current 3,100 seats to approximately 5,400 seats. This will involve lengthening the stands and extending them up to the edge of the playing field. The plans already included the addition of north and south stands, thus creating a closed quad for up to 10,000 spectators.

Whereas the “Canazza” stands and their characteristic concrete shell roof are to be retained and refurbished, the entire substructure and roof of the “Zanvettor” stands will be rebuilt with a view to integrating all the spatial requirements of Serie B games. Areas of circulation for the different user and visitor groups are logically separated. The structurally exposed portal provides separate access to a business area, fan shop, and food facilities, all of which can also be used when no games are scheduled.

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The grandstand’s new substructure is made of exposed concrete. The steel trusses on the underside of the grandstand roof are covered with membrane cladding, highlighting the simple, overall stereometric effect that is consistently carried over into the interior. The building’s external arrangement replicates the cornices and proportions of the historic façade. With the new minimalist construction, the main façade enters into a focused dialog contrasting old and new. The goal was neither a harmonizing continuation nor the opposite extreme, a didactic antagonism, but rather the simultaneous establishment of a clear visual differentiation and a precise, detailed reference.

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