Usually we don’t go for cheap titles like this one, but it’s actually true. Classy, very expensive and quite literally luxurious when compared with other stadia, meet Stadion Krasnodar.
When in 2008 supermarket tycoon Sergey Galitsky established his own football club, FC Krasnodar, many were dismissive. After all, Russia has a long history of newly-created clubs that never gain momentum and fall quickly. But Galitsky showed how serious he was by creating one of the world’s best training academies in Krasnodar, with 15 fields and student housing. And this proved to be just the beginning.
In 2011 Galitski, worth an estimated $6.5 billion, commissioned the design of a new stadium. From the start it was to be, well, lavish. And since yesterday the rest of Russia can look in awe as Stadion FK Krasnodar opened. Russia may have lost to Costa Rica (3:4), but that was just a friendly. From October 20 regular football use begins as Schalke 04 are coming to test the hosts and their new home. And just in case you’re unsure: no, Stadion Krasnodar will not host the 2018 World Cup, but is almost certain to be a training base.
And it will make for a superb base to whichever team uses it. Galitsky’s new stadium is part of 11 hectares of quality leisure space in eastern Krasnodar, with very thorough landscaping.
With oval footprint, the stadium rises to 42.8 meters, nearly equaling the height of 17-floor blocks erected simultaneously just north of the building. South of the stadium a large public park was planned as an extension of stadium plaza. East side neighbours with FC Krasnodar’s football academy, while the west is the main façade fans are expected to see.
The design was awarded to SPeeCH, who earlier delivered smaller facilities for the club. This Russian office benefitted from international cooperation with greats like GMP Architekten and Schlaich Bergermann & Partners. The outcome is a clear, simple and elegant form resembling the Roman Coliseum.
And it’s quite some façade! From the covered turnstiles, through a vast landscaped plinth, to the very Coliseum-alike colonnade, the stadium is thought-through in every detail. While it’s concrete as usual deep down, all of the main structure is clad with Italian stone and metal, creating a striking visual effect.
Once fans reach the colonnade, they’re already at the top of the auditorium’s lower tier. There are two floors below them (largely used for underground parking) and two above them. The seating bowl itself is very compact, able to hold 34,000 people. Initial announcements suggested an expansion option would be included, but that did not happen.
The emphasis is on comfort, thus the high-end furnishings. Even the concrete beneath individual seats is painted, getting darker towards the highest rows. This way it almost blends with the stadium’s signature feature, the world’s first panoramic stadium screen, covering over 4,800 m2 between fans and the roof. The surface makes it Europe’s largest by far and enables the creation of unique atmosphere during events.
Above the auditorium there’s a roof like you’ve seen at many stadia created by GMP and SBP. Except that this one is the first cable and membrane roof to have giant heaters mounted beneath it, assuring that fans are warm even during harsh winters in Krasnodar.
The stadium offers 82,000 m2 of floor space, a lot of which is used to provide 249 parking bays underneath the stands. Another major part is used for corporate hospitality as business seats are spread through all four stands. There are 21 private boxes (and a 22nd large presidential one) and a total of 3,197 business seats.
Due to the use of expensive stock and advanced technologies, the stadium proved very expensive. It was estimated by Galitsky that it consumed over RUB 20 billion ($316 million upon handover on Sept 30, 2016). It’s the most expensive private stadium ever to be built in Russia, but also one of the world’s most expensive venues in the ‘price per seat’ category.