‘The Racers’ residence to be repurposed

Video: RC Strasbourg Alsace (YouTube)

Renowned design practice Populous has landed the work of repurposing the residence of Stade de la Meinau, the home of French Ligue 1 football club RC Strasbourg. The price tag of the whole development stands at €100m (£90.4m/$123.3m).

Populous, along with SCAU, KSS Group, HPP and 2PORTZAMPARC, was among five architecture firms shortlisted out of a total of 45 applications back in February 2020. Its selection as Project Manager was made by Eurométropole de Strasbourg, the regional administration, which is overseeing the venture.

Populous has worked in tandem with Strasbourg-based firm Rey-De Crécy on the project, with a building permit to be filed in September ahead of the potential start of work in May 2022. Delivery of the new-look Meinau has been earmarked for July 2025.

The 26,109-capacity Stade de la Meinau, commonly known as ‘La Meinau’, is a football stadium in Strasbourg, France. It is the home ground of RC Strasbourg and has also hosted international matches, including one game of the 1938 World Cup, two games of Euro 1984 and the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1988.

Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace is a French association football club founded in 1906, based in the City of Strasbourg, Alsace. It has attained professional status since 1933 and is currently playing in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football, ever since winning the 2016-17 Ligue 2 championship.

France RC Strasbourg new stadiumImage: Populous

The proposal submitted by Populous is said to have met three essential criteria: Environmental performance, functional and financial control of the technical program, and the urban and landscape integration of the new-look stadium.

The rehabilitation work will increase the capacity of the stadium from 26,000 to 32,500 whilst creating new meeting and service spaces, as well as reception lounges and access points. Eurométropole de Strasbourg will provide €50m of the funding required for the project with three other regional public bodies – the Grand Est (€25m), City of Strasbourg (€12.5m) and the Department of Bas-Rhin (€12.5m) – covering the remaining costs.

The club itself plans to infuse cash injection between €7m and €8m towards upgrading the stadium’s museum, shops, offices and ticketing facilities, as well as €10m towards a new training center for the first team and €21m towards lending a futuristic look to the academy facilities.

RC Strasbourg President, Marc Keller, commented, “We are proud for Strasbourg, for the whole region, and happy for our supporters too. With the Populous project, the Meinau will enter a new era but will remain the Meinau, the stadium that we love with its very special atmosphere, its special spirit.”

Keller added, “We have always said it: We want the stadium of tomorrow with the atmosphere of today. This will be the case. Populous will bring the Meinau into a necessary modernity while retaining its identity.”

The project will initially see the redevelopment of the Meinau’s East, North and West stands. Removable seating will be set up to enable for the expansion of the length of the playing surface from 120 to 131 meters to cater for rugby matches.

Pia Imbs, President, Eurométropole de Strasbourg, stated, “It is a project which meets the needs of the stadium and at the same time takes into account its geographical location in Strasbourg within the Meinau district. A project capable of bringing together, beyond sport, the economic, artistic and cultural world.”

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