Redecoration nod for ‘The Greyhounds’ home


Italy Bologna stadium update Nov 2020 Image: Bologna FC

The City of Bologna (Italy) has ratified the move to totally rehabilitate Stadio Dall’Ara. Though the road ahead is still long, but the City’s go-ahead comes as a welcome piece of news. Of course, the final design documentation is now being prepared.

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara is a multipurpose stadium in Bologna, Italy. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home of Bologna F.C. 1909. The stadium was built in 1927 and holds 38,279 spectators.

Bologna Football Club 1909, commonly referred to as Bologna, is an Italian professional football club based in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna that plays in Serie A, the top flight of Italian football.

Recently, the Bologna City hall and Bologna FC released a joint statement as regards progress on Stadio Renato Dall’Ara redevelopment. The project was announced as being in the public interest, which is a crucial designation in order for it to be delivered.

The above development holds significance in the sense that contrary to majority of Italian projects – in this case the City is going to pick up a significant portion of the tab. Apart from granting Bologna F.C. a 40 year lease of the site, the City is also expected to put forward €40 million, despite few council members being skeptic about the same.

Initially, the public funding was supposed to stay within the €30 million limit, however, the entire project’s cost has shot up from 2017 estimates of €70 million to €100 million ($117m) this year.


The initial concept by design practice GAU Arena was presented way back in 2018. Since then, the renderings presented during the past summer showed significant changes. The increase in the stadium capacity comes with aesthetic compromises, most notably external cantilever supports beside the historical Eastern tower, which will disrupt the stadium’s form and diminish its beauty.

Design nod

Once the design documentation is submitted next year, the final design is expected to be granted planning permission in 120 days. Then 90 more days will be required for the tendering process and construction should start by mid-2022.

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara

The long-awaited reconstruction of Stadio Renato Dall’Ara will bring about a total transformation in the facility’s appearance, while keeping intact the historical part of the stadium dating back to 1927. In order to do this, the uppermost sections (built for Copa ‘90) would be dismantled, revealing the brick arcades presently hidden behind steel expansion. The inside of the arena will undergo a sea change.

All existing stands would be pulled down, with only the main structure of the West stand to be retained, as it houses most of the required sporting facilities. A new auditorium would come up and fans would be provided with plush facilities. Presently, the main stand is 18m away from the field, while at the new stadium it would be moved to just 7.5m. This same distance would apply to all other sides of the auditorium. In comparison, at present the front row behind each goal is a huge 43.5-meter-distance away from the field!

The stands would not only be brought closer to the field but would also be reduced in size. Presently, with the uppermost parts sealed off, on game days 31,000 spectators can be accommodated. At the new stadium, it would be just below 27,000. This number includes 240 seats in 22 boxes (from 6 to 42 per box), 108 press seats and an away enclosure for 1,345 fans. Also, 62 places for wheelchair users are to be spread across all four stands.

The newly-organized space would see fans enter through 28 gates and take their seats within a 100-meter route. They would leave through the same gates, which facilitates evacuation, supposedly possible within just five minutes in case of an emergency.

The compact auditorium translates into the fact that a lot of space will be created between the field and the historic outer walls. Over 19,200 m2 of space will be available for matchday facilities and further 1,160 m2 of space would be occupied by Bologna F.C.’s museum. Due to the difference between oval and rectangular layouts, as much as 6,000 m2 would be available for non-matchday leisure/commercial use behind each goal, to be used even during games.

As per the new layout of the venue, all seats would be covered. The roof would have a unique structure with most of its weight based in the corners. This way it’s possible to minimize the structure above the East stand. Only thin cables would support the transparent polycarbonate cladding, revealing the famous stadium tower to spectators inside the venue. Overall, the stadium would be covered largely with aluminum, in line with the nearby natatorium’s existing roof, while portions of polycarbonate would allow more light inside the facility. Also, the cover would be divided into three overlapping layers with openings between them. This way neutral ventilation is ensured.

The connect between the old and new arena has been established by GAU Arena, curated by the famous architect Gino Zavanella. Its implementation should cost €100 million (initially 70 million was anticipated) and the stadium redevelopment work will be carried out in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode between the City of Bologna (€40m) and the Saputo family (Canada’s richest people) who own the football club. It would be Italy’s first PPP mode stadium project of such huge scale.

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