As the name suggests, 'Arena of the Forest' is inspired by the forest, Marselisborg with its large old tree trunks that surround the city's existing stadium in the Kongelunden area.
The architectural profile relates closely to its historical context, the forest and the church. The white columns, as a design characteristic, are inspired by the trees, which stretch up to 47 metres, reach out and cover the areas around the stadium while forming a huge crown that embraces the entire stadium.
The pillars, wooden ribs and a transparent extended roof, are additional references to the forest, while providing an ambience of grandeur. The roof of the new stadium is designed to maximise weather protection and to increase comfort levels in and around the stadium.
'Arena of the Forest' was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with Sweco, Sweco Architects and Tredje Natur. Sweco has ensured that the project has been anchored locally, has developed the actual design of the stadium and been responsible for all engineering disciplines.
“The strong manifestation of the winning project is inviting and reaches out to the surroundings and connects very well with the context. The proposal is at the same time so distinctive and iconic that it will be remembered as a special stadium for Aarhus.”
– from the competition organisers’ evaluation report
Since the old Aarhus Sports Park was rebuilt more than twenty years ago, the football crowd in Aarhus has longed for an intimate and atmospheric stadium without running tracks. The new, modern stadium brings the fans very close to the pitch and will hold up to 24,000 spectators.
In addition, the project creates a wealth of public spaces that can be used 365 days a year as an attraction, when there are no football matches. Accordingly, the stadium revitalises the entire stadium area.
The client for the new Aarhus Stadium is Aarhus Municipality and the stadium construction is financed by two donations totalling DKK 500 million from Salling Fonden and Lind Invest. In addition, the club, AGF is ready to contribute up to DKK 150 million.
The proposal for the new stadium will be qualified during the first half of 2023 in a collaboration between Aarhus Municipality, the winning team and AGF. In parallel with this process, the contractor responsible for the construction of the new stadium will be chosen.
In the second half of 2023, construction will be planned in detail before the demolition of the current stadium begins in 2024. Construction will take place in four stages leading up to the expected inauguration of the city's new stadium during 2026.
The winning team's roles and services in the project
Zaha Hadid Architects: Lead architect, responsible for the overall design.
Sweco: Local anchoring and design of the stadium. Responsible for all engineering disciplines, etc., including wind, acoustics, climate, sustainability, ventilation, plumbing and electricity.
Tredje Natur: Landscape architecture.