|Category||Design awaiting implementation|
|Cost||€ 230 mln|
|Design||Valode & Pistre Architectes|
Description: Stade Nemausus
Built back in 1989, Stade des Costieres was the work of a great architect. But as the home of Nîmes Olympique it failed to live up to the expectations. That's why already 30 years after completion, in 2019, the idea of tearing it down and building from scratch has surfaces. The work of Vittorio Gregotti was to be replaced by a much more compact venue by two other grand names in architecture: Valode and Pistre.
The first and fundamental change, decisive for the economic viability of the stadium, is the change of its orientation. The main axis would now run from the north to the south instead of a west-east layout. Creation of a more compact bowl will enable moving the stadium east, leaving roughly equal space for other uses. A few hundred apartments and 20,000 m2 of offices can be created here, along with a hotel. These secondary uses are expected to boost Nîmes Olympique's profile and increase revenue by up to €10m annually, when combined with new matchday facilities.
The stadium's form is very simple but distinctive thanks to clear associations to ancient architecture. It's no coincidence, especially when we consider the interim name for the project, Stade Nemausus, derived from the city's name in ancient Rome times. Nîmes is also where one of the most wonderful Roman amphitheatres sits, a direct inspiration for the stadium. Its spacious arcades will create a welcoming environment.
Replacing an opaque facade with open spaces is a safe choice in the city's Mediterranean climate, where shade is the primary requirement, while natural ventilation is encouraged. To create an even more friendly environment, architects moved the main concourse from beneath the stands to the top. Here, a 5,000-square-meter concourse will include open bars, spaces for socialising and panoramic views of the field and stadium surroundings.
The auditorium is very simplistic, with a continuous single tier placed as close to the field as possible. Only the main grandstand with 30 boxes and open-air hospitality stands out. The final capacity of 15,100 is significantly lower than that of the old stadium, which has proven far too big over the years. Before the club's takeover in 2016 only once had Nîmes Olympique exceeded average crowd size of 10,000, back in 1994.
That success was only repeated in 2019, after Rani Assaf took over at the club and stadium. It's precisely him behind the project, which – contrary to the usual French public-private partnership model – will be funded entirely with private funding. Own funds, bank loans and commercial partners for the non-football functions are to carry the burden, which is expected to exceed €200 million significantly.