új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium in Budapest by Bord Architectural Studio

published in sb 2/2017

Football Capsule

The Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium designed by Bord Architectural Studio is a 5,000-seat capacity stadium, ranked UEFA category 3. The ‘football capsule’ is a venue created for football events with lower spectator capacities, but thanks to its original design it meets the functional, geometrical and acoustic requirements of big, modern stadiums and is therefore able to provide the desired, real arena atmosphere.

The essence of any stadium is the fine union of the pitch and of the stands surrounding it. A carefully designed, enclosed seating bowl provides perfect views and a cauldron-like experience, which are essential conditions for the true atmosphere. Seating bowls of stadiums with 20-80,000 spectator capacities therefore manifest the typically closed, highly arched and dynamic form.

Stadiums planned for less than 10,000 seats rank as small-sized or mini-arenas. In these stadiums not only are the spectators’ comfort level and the range of services often of a lower standard, but the shape of the seating bowl and the whole appearance of the building are simplified and thus the quality of the experience is less intense as well.

Simple functionality

The Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium named after the famous football player of the Golden Team, the famous Hungarian national football team of the 1950s, is located on the site of the former MTK Stadium in the industrial suburb of Budapest. The former athletic stadium had been demolished because of its poor condition and functional obsolescence. The new pitch was built on the space enclosed by the former athletic track, so the architects preserved its position below street level. However, they gave its axis a north-south alignment in order to meet the requirements of modern football stadiums. The stadium had to be designed for 5,000-seat capacity, a fact that clearly defined the Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium as a mini-arena. In view of this low capacity and the restricted potential of the narrow site, the stands were set opposite each other along the west and east sides of the pitch.

Functional areas: small-scale but high-quality

The building is set back from Hungaria Boulevard, so an elegant public square welcomes visitors outside the main spectator entrance. The fans are able to move from the street straight to the east stand, so there is a clear and spacious route for them. Buffets, a fan restaurant and other facilities are also located on this entrance level providing the highest standard of services. ‘Street boxes’ are positioned separately on the first level because they function as exclusive business rooms of the MTK fan restaurant.

The main volume of the stadium is joined to the west stand. VIP, media areas, the players’ zone and the new headquarters of MTK, one of the most popular Hungarian sports clubs, were set in this four-storey building section. The parking area is situated in front of the stadium, slotting within the footprint of the former athletic track. The welcome zones for players, VIPs and media guests open from this level. The VIP lounge is situated on the first level, from which VIPs can reach their separate seats in the stand. The sky boxes are placed on the two upper levels.

Bars, restaurants and other retail areas are set in the south part of the stadium and can meet the needs of city dwellers throughout the year. The rival supporters’ entrance is located separately on the north side of the stadium. Their welcome zone, seats and associated services are organised in this protected area.

Conceptual space design

Designing a stadium for a low spectator capacity was a source of innovative architectural solutions. The external appearance of the building is divided into two different parts by a characteristic, slanting concrete slab. The volume for public use is set under the slab, while the roof of the stadium is situated over it. The roof with the membrane sheeting tensioned against the steel skeleton gives the building a dynamic form, its energetic lines evoking the body of a car. This effect is also emphasised by the ribbon-like section over the main public entrance.

The volume under the slanting slab with its sharp, folded edges is reminiscent of an origami figure and blends well with the industrial environment of the stadium. This concept also appears in the design of the inner surfaces around the pitch. In this way the stadium bowl is created by the union of the two stands opposite each other and the consciously shaped masses along the north and south sides of the football pitch. This acoustically rated, closed seating bowl strives to guarantee the same experience that is generally expected from stadiums designed for ten thousand visitors.