At this point in time however, there is little evidence of this land being the future location of an ultra-modern 43,000-seater sporting and entertainment arena. The only tell-tale sign I could make out was a red and white cordon marking off something. Possibly the penalty area of the football pitch… who knows?
Plans for a new stadium in Bordeaux had been milling around for a number of years. Firstly, football club Les Girondins de Bordeaux currently reside at Stade Chaban-Delmas in central Bordeaux, a stadium which has been in operation since 1938 and which is beginning to show its age in these modern times. Then, when in 2010 France was chosen to host the 2016 European football championships, one certainty was that if the city of Bordeaux was to play ball, the new stadium project would have to make the transition from the drawing board to the real world.
In 2011 it was announced that the construction of the new stadium, to be situated in the Bordeaux-Lac district, had been entrusted to a consortium formed by the building companies Vinci (also behind the ongoing construction of the new lifting Bacalan Bastide bridge) and Fayat. The accompanying design was the work of prolific Swiss architects Jacques Herzof and Pierre de Meuron, the people behind the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany and the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing, China.
The estimated overall cost of the stadium project is €170 million, funded by the French State (€28m), the city of Bordeaux (€17m), the greater Bordeaux authority (€15m), the Aquitaine regional council (€15m) and the Girondins along with their owners M6 (an initial outlay of €20m followed by an annual rent of around €4m paid over 30 years and topped up by the city of Bordeaux). Presumably, unlike here, the maths do add up in the official public/private partnership paperwork!
The stadium itself is described in architect-speak as being “highly elegant, presenting itself as a prism encasing two pyramids formed by steps and the underside of the stands. The whole structure is supported by a dense forest of slim pillars.”
For the time being though, the only slim pillar-like objects in the vicinity are the streetlights on the neighbouring roundabout, the rosebushes of which are a handy way of locating the site of the future stadium from the air as they form the Bordeaux crescent emblem (a reference to the shape of the Garonne)! Rest assured though, with preliminary work due to commence later in 2012, I will be returning regularly to monitor progress between now and 2015, by which time this is what the mood of the place will be like:
- Find it: Avenue de la Jallere, Bordeaux
- Credits: Artist's impressions - Herzog/De Meuron / Video - Ville de Bordeaux