15. Oct 2014

In praise of football

Architects: Tamás Dobrosi, Imre Balázs Arnóczki, Antal Szegedi, Krisztina Törekiné Bakó, László Király, Ferenc Vavrik, Barna Jóföldi, Oszkár Orbán, Lídia Mikus, Olivér Kis-Simon, Tamás Dósa Papp – Doparum Architects
Photos: György Dénes, László Döme Jr., József Takács

The Pancho Arena in Felcsút/HU is the largest education centre for aspiring young footballers in Hungary. It bears the name Puskás Akadémia FC and is named after one of the greatest football legends in history, Olympic champion, European Cup winner and World Cup silver medalist Ferenc Puskás. The management of the Academy decided to build a UEFA category III football stadium suitable for hosting Hungarian league matches and junior tournaments as well as any kind of international competition up to the second qualifying round of the Europa League and the Champions League. The unusual arena was designed by architect Tamás Dobrosi and the team from Doparum Architects. From the outside the arena looks more like a sacred complex than a sports stadium. The inside features organic forms and warm light.

The entrance to the stadium is lined by white pillars with wooden truss constructions. The walls between the pillars comprise small and large windows held in dark frames. The slate roof is borne by wooden supports that sprout from reinforced concrete pillars. Domes made of copper sheet are located at strategic points. These domes peel back at the top and culminate in pointed glass and copper roofs. During the daytime the copper glows in the sunlight, and in the evening warm light radiates through the windows.

The corridors leading to the stands consist of a series of rounded arches, which are accentuated dramatically by cooler white light from downlights. The enormous slate roof above the stands is organic in its design and sits on a forest of tree-top shaped supports. After dark, the lower section of the wooden roof on the inside is uplit by projectors mounted within the tree-top supports. The warm white light underscores the quality of the wood, accentuates the branchlike structures and generates a dramatic but warm and friendly atmosphere.

The Pancho Arena gives the motto: “Football is my religion and the stadium my place of worship” a new meaning, whether that was intended or not. The atmosphere is somewhere between cosy and exciting – with an undeniable touch of reverence.


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