If we were to name a typical Israeli stadium, we’d go for this one. Not because it’s that much like others, but it’s got the characteristics and fits there more than anywhere else.
New municipal stadium in Netanya was designed to eventually hold up to 24,000 people, but today has less than 14,000 seats. Still, it looks consistently and if we were told this is its final shape, we’d agree that it’s already attractive.
Two tall, double-tiered stands with slender and dynamic arched roof make it seem larger than it really is, while tall walls behind goals make the lack of seating there less of an issue. This is exactly how Teddy Stadium and new arena in Petah-Tikva were done as well – starting without enclosed ends, there are to come later, when local demand is high enough.
This idea, followed in Israeli stadiums, is a very rational and well justified one. Enough said, that Maccabi still doesn’t fill the stadium half way, despite having attendances grown by some 140% since relocation. But we’ve already heard them sing and with atmosphere like that, we’ll be hearing about them again, for sure.
Just like the mentioned venues in Jerusalem and Petah-Tikva, this one was also designed by GAB Architects, a renowned Israeli practice, managing to give all of the stadia unique distinctive marks and create what we think is instantly recognizable as Israeli, especially with walls behind empty ends resembling fortifications.
If we were to name what’s wrong with it, we’d go for long construction period (2005-2012) and selection of night lighting. But in the latter case it’s only about colour selection (pink and green don’t really go well together, if you asked us), not about how the illumination works.
If you think Netanya Stadium is worth attention, you may name it among your top five nominees, when making the selection for Stadium of the Year 2012 title. You may vote until Feb 23!