Virtus Bologna digs to enliven Bologna area



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Virtus Bologna planning for a new arena Image: Commune di Bologna

The Italian Lega Basket Serie A club Virtus Bologna has unbolted plans to build a new home arena to further consolidate its position in the top rung of European basketball. So far, the club has been playing in a temporary venue – the Virtus Segafredo Arena in Bologna, Italy – since the year 2019. The 10,000-capacity mixed-use venue planned is expected to be completed by December 2024 or the beginning of 2025 and will enliven not only the City of Bologna but the entire area.

The suspended lantern designed by the Mario Cucinella Architects (MCA) will be built inside the Bologna Exhibition Centre, Italy, and the new home of Virtus Bologna will be an energy-efficient one.

‘Comune di Bologna’ stated that the project for the new Virtus Bologna arena in Bologna, Italy, will soon get rolling after the formalities carried out and once the Bologna City Council presents the project to the Palazzo d’ Accursio (the City of Bologna’s town hall) accompanied by the Mayor of Bologna Matteo Lepore, the President of BolognaFiere (event venue in Bologna, Italy) Gianpiero Calzolari, the President of the Italian professional basketball club Virtus Segafredo Bologna Massimo Zanetti, and Michele Roveri, the Architect of Studio MCA Mario Cucinella Architects.

Founded in 1992 in Paris (France) by Mario Cucinella, MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects is now based in Bologna and Milan (Italy) and is made up of over 100 professionals. MCA excels in architectural designs that integrate environmental and energy strategies, making use of an in-house research and development (R&D) Department that carries out research on sustainability issues.

The 1,700-capacity Bologna Exhibition Centre (BolognaFiere) in Bologna, Italy, covers 375,000 square meters of indoor and external areas. The venue has 18 halls, all of which are fully wired, air-conditioned and boasts cutting-edge technology. Multiple events can take place simultaneously thanks to five separate entrances. It is the first-ever exhibition center in Italy to have its own motorway toll booth.

The Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, known for sponsorship reasons as the Virtus Segafredo Bologna, is an Italian professional basketball club based in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The club was founded in 1927, which makes it the oldest club in Italy and one of the oldest in Europe. It plays in Italian Lega Basket Serie A, the top level of Italian basketball.

The Virtus Segafredo Arena, simply known for sponsorship reasons as Segafredo Arena, is a temporary indoor arena located in Bologna, with a capacity of 9,980 seats, one of the largest in the country. The arena opened in November 2019 and hosts home games of Virtus Bologna.

Virtus Bologna will be ready to play in its new 10,000-capacity home between the end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025. The new multipurpose arena will be built within the Bologna Fairgrounds.

‘Comune di Bologna’ further stated that the BolognaFiere will become more of a multipurpose venue and will not just stage exhibition events. The price tag of the new home of Virtus Bologna is expected to cost €55m (£48.4m/$59.1m), and will replace Pavilion 35 at the Fairgrounds and is part of a greater scheme of things to redevelop the Fairgrounds for cultural and sports entertainment activities.

The part of the Fairground that faces the Constitution Square and Viale Aldo Moro (one of the most modern and pleasant neighborhoods in the City of Bologna) will become increasingly accessible, also thanks to the creation of the red line of the tram, which has two stops in Viale Aldo Moro and Viale della Fiera, and the construction of new venues for shows, sporting events and entertainment will make the neighborhood bustle with life the whole year round and not just on days when the trade fairs are held.

The opening of new venues for shows and entertainment purpose will make the area more vibrant and it is set to become an entertainment district.

From the architectural perspective, the project will be characterized by a base about 10 meters high, on which the volume lodging the arena will be placed, reaching a height of 25 meters. The structure as well as the eye-catching façades is set to give the new pavilion a plush look and will blend well into the neighborhood as well as the entertainment district.

Externally, the building will be wrapped in a ‘dynamic envelope’, a façade that runs all the way around the perimeter of the building enclosing it: An urban backdrop on which images can be projected, and will appear as a large suspended lantern to visitors and fans.

Among the main objectives of the entire development, the ground floor will be built in such a manner so as to facilitate holding of large trade fairs and exhibitions. For this reason, permanent “fixed” facilities such as lifts, stairs, changing rooms will be located inside the pavilion in the side wings. The ground floor of the pavilion will be used to stage all kinds of events – sports, exhibition, congresses, etc.

The project, therefore, envisages the construction of two buildings: The pavilion in which the arena will be housed and a building for holding exhibitions.
 

The Arena

The 10,000-capacity multipurpose arena will enjoy a basketball court 28×15 meters and through a rapid assembly/disassembly system, it will be possible to both vary the capacity of the space and increase the visibility of the court, ensuring maximum efficiency in every configuration of the arena.

While designing the grandstands, the bleachers will be placed as close to the playing area as possible to improve the spectator experience. The arena will comply with the criteria laid down by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the EuroLeague.

The sustainability factor will be accorded topmost priority and recyclable materials will be used to construct the arena, it will be an energy-efficient facility and with the proper use of renewable energy sources, the objective will be to leave no carbon footprints behind. LED lights will be installed.

The Lega Basket Serie A is a professional men’s club basketball league that has been organized in Italy since 1920. Serie A is organised by Lega Basket, which is regulated by the Italian Basketball Federation. It is the highest-tier level of the Italian league system.

Mies (Switzerland)-based the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is an association of national organizations which governs the sport of basketball worldwide. Originally known as the Fédération internationale de basket-ball amateur, in 1989 it dropped the word amateur from its name but retained the acronym.

Barcelona (Spain)-based EuroLeague, known as the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for sponsorship reasons, is a European professional basketball club competition. The league is widely recognized as the top-tier league in Europe.

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