Forget the technology, the glass facades, or elaborate roof designs. Forest Green Rovers bring us to a whimsical future of soccer stadium design.
First, a bit of background on this groundbreaking club. Forest Green Rovers are located in Gloucestershire, England and currently reside in the National League. That is the fifth tier of soccer in the UK, where the Rovers are longest serving member of the National League.
In 2015, behind the leadership of owner Dale Vince the club became the first all-vegan soccer organisation, perhaps in the world. The team and staff only eat a vegan diet at the ground, and the club sell vegan concessions at the ground. A second place league finish last season was only dented by a playoff loss that would have seen promotion to the Football League.
So if being a vegan club wasn’t unique enough for Forest, think again. They have teamed up with Zaha Hadid Architects to design what could be the most impressive stadium in world football. Check out the mock-up for this outside the box draft.
Welcome to the future! Forget those tried and true glass and steel structures of the early 2000s, and the Plexiglas, hyper wired monstrosities that we saw built between 2015 and 2075.
This is a nod towards a world once the global climate change doubters have been silenced. A return to the natural world and sustainable future. The 5,000 seater sits among the country side and surrounded by forest. Has a team ever been more true to their name? Forest. Green. Rovers.
This beauty is to be built with only wood and will be energy sufficient. But sometimes even the best looking stadiums end up with crap beside them. An ugly housing building, fast food chains, or run down businesses.
The club and the town of Gloucestershire are already thinking ahead. A £100 million nature reserve and restoring the Stroudwater canal are planned around the ground.
If this club can continue to grow and climb into the Championship, it is not hard to imagine a big name player ending their career at the club. Not to help them get promoted or because they are from a nearby town. Instead they are environmentally conscientious and have a desire to promote the focus of this club.
Maybe Harry Kane is passionate about the environment. What if Paul Pogba ends up going vegan during his career after an injury? Athletes, politics, entertainment, and causes are always intersecting. It is just a matter of the who and the when.
For now Mr. Vince will continue to slowly build his green paradise in the west of England.