Just like almost every year recently, one more new stadium joins the Israeli football league, this time in Be’er Sheva. But is it more English or Dutch in terms of style?
It’s only the second stadium in Israel to have stands on all sides and roof protecting all fans (after Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa). And it could have been first, because site preparations were launched just after Haifa. But they then gained pace slowly and only in 2012 fast progress was visible.
Eventually the structure was finished in the summer of 2015 and the stadium’s cost was nearly 250 million shekels (€56m / $63m). Official opening took place on Sept 21, when Hapoel tied goallessly with the other team with a new stadium, Maccabi Haifa.
The site for Turner Stadium was selected in the northern outskirts of Be’er Sheva, far from the old central Vasermil Stadium. But as this place was formerly used for training fields, sports use is continued. New indoor hall (3,000 people) and natatorium were also built as part of a greater complex, all supplied with 2,600 parking places.
The design was delivered by Israel’s most experienced stadium architects Goldschmidt, Arditty and Ben Nayim (GAB Architects), so some resemblances with stadia in Jerusalem, Petah-Tikva and Netanya are visible (particularly exposed walls with narrow openings). That said, it’s a very original stadium architecturally.
Firstly, it’s the form of enclosed bowl despite corners being left empty. This rare layout is considered very “English” (compact and intimate), but was in fact directly inspired by the Gelredome in Arnhem. Its advantage is a very efficient roof structure as the roof trusses rest upon high corner walls. So do the steel frames holding outer cladding in place.
This rectangular and rather calm, grey shape is animated by red details (colour of home team Hapoel). On the outside it’s a red wave enveloping the façade. Inside it’s the 16,000+ red seats that make it more cosy.
The seating layout itself is very traditional. The western grandstand comprises all of the infrastructure (including not two but four locker rooms). It also boasts the box of honor, restaurant and 6 skyboxes, of course along with media facilities and other uses.
The south is entirely awarded to Hapoel’s fanatics from accordingly named Ultrasouth. Away fans can count on 10% allocation in the north stand (1,600 seats of the 3,210 stand), which will only be made available to home crowds when demand is high enough.
The stadium’s name honours former mayor Jacob Turner and also appreciates Toto (state lottery), which co-financed the project.
And here's a taste of the atmosphere inside from Monday's opener: