Skovens Arena

Capacity24 000
Country Denmark
CategoryDesign awaiting implementation
CostDKK 650 M
Design Zaha Hadid Architects, Sweco Denmark, Tredje Natur


Skovens Arena – design description

How did the design for a new stadium in Aarhus originate?

The main stadium in the city of Aarhus (since 2015 under the name Ceres Park) has been in operation since 1920. On a daily basis, the venue is used by the AGF football club. The stadium got its current form after a modernisation that took place at the turn of the 20th century. For some time, there had been talk of the need to build a new, football-specific stadium without an athletics track.

Alongside the construction of the arena, there were also plans to revitalise the entire forested area in which it was located. The site, called Kongelunden, was to become the largest urban park in the whole of Denmark and an attractive place for leisure, sport and recreation. At the end of 2019, it was announced that Lind Invest and Salling Fondene were going to support the project with 500 million kroner.

The donation made the construction of the new stadium, estimated to cost 650 million kroner, possible. The entire project, including the redevelopment of the site, was expected to cost 750 million kroner, and the city intended to contribute the missing 250 million from its budget. The AGF club also pledged a contribution of 150 million kroner.

Once the funding was secured, the planning of the investment began. Forty-two architectural teams, including many renowned studios from Denmark and around the world, entered the competition to design the stadium. In December 2021, six groups were selected to qualify for the next stage, later the list was shortened to three. The final choice of designer for the new stadium was announced on December 14, 2022, with the winning concept developed by Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with Sweco Denmark and Tredje Natur.

What is the design concept for the new stadium in Aarhus?

The concept is to demolish the existing stadium and build a completely new, football-specific facility in its place, without an athletics track. During the reconstruction, the venue will be temporarily out of use. In order to provide the AGF team with a stadium during this period, it is planned to build a temporary arena in Tilst, in the north-western suburbs of Aarhus. Its construction would cost an additional 50 million kroner.

As the athletics track will be removed when the old facility is demolished, it is planned to build a new one not far from the stadium, on the site of the cycling track and the athletics throwing training field. The dismantled cycling track is, in turn, to be reconstructed a little further away, at the location of the car parks, which will be built inside the nearby horse racing track as compensation.

Next to the stadium, in the vicinity of Ceres Arena, a new so-called Team Denmark Center is to be built. On the other hand, the so-called Stadionhallen, two interconnected halls adjacent to the stadium to the north, which were built, like the stadium, in 1920, will be preserved. As part of the project, it is planned to modernise them. However, they will not be connected directly to the new stadium.

What will the new stadium in Aarhus feature?

The new stadium will hold up to 24 000 spectators. The facility will be given a rectangular form with rounded corners. The pitch will remain on an east-west axis and will be surrounded on all sides by single-level, fully covered stands. The main stand, including the back facilities, will be located on the north side. The ends of the roof will be glazed; underneath the roof there will be floodlights and video screens.

Reinforced concrete pillars will have a significant function in the external appearance of the stadium. The row of tall, slightly curved columns is intended to refer to the trees growing around the stadium. The forest motif will be enhanced by the wooden, openwork façade. As the exterior draws inspiration from the nearby forest, the facility has been given the working name 'Skovens Arena' ('Forest Arena'). In addition to the main stand, underneath which there will be facilities, the space underneath the stands will be a wide, semi-open corridor.

What events will take place in the new stadium in Aarhus?

The main user of the stadium will be AGF club footballers. It will also be suitable for international matches, and the Danish Football Association has already expressed an interest in using it for national team games. The stadium will also be used for various events, such as concerts. Thanks to its commercial functions, residents will be able to use it for more than just matches and other events.

When will the new stadium in Aarhus be built?

Consultations between architects, the city and the club are scheduled for the first half of 2023, with design documentation and a detailed construction plan to be prepared in the second half of that year. Construction is expected to start in 2024 and will be divided into four phases, with a planned completion in 2026.