New Zealand: World’s first underwater stadium?

source:; author: michał

New Zealand: World’s first underwater stadium? You’ve seen many waterfront stadiums. But this one is also below sea level, which makes it… well, extremely unlikely to ever get built. Still a stunning idea from Auckland.


In March the city of Auckland received a number of concepts for the new football/rugby stadium. One of them, as revealed by the New Zealand Herald, is exceptional in its sole idea. It would be the world’s first ever sunken stadium, built within the waterfront and below sea level at the same time.

Nicknamed ‘The Crater’, this scheme suggested by graphic designer Phil O’Reilly could see between 30,000 and 50,000 people seated below the water level. But is this even possible to carry out?

New Auckland Stadium

As O’Reilly claims, it began by the history of Auckland’s former waterfront stadium scheme. It was proposed back in 2006, but eventually fell through, largely due to the sheer size of a 60,000-seat stadium that would occupy this part of Auckland.

“So it struck me that if you want to get rid of the physical object and still have a stadium, why not go down instead of up? Why don’t you start on that? Obviously it would go below sea level, but so we did with the transport terminal and the channel tunnel”, O’Reilly says.

As he claims, the idea has been consulted with engineers working on below-water-level projects, who assessed it as possible. However, it would require a giant waterproof case where the stands could physically be fitted. While not requiring above-water architectural considerations, this project would still be an immense engineering challenge.

As of yet the city officials haven’t reacted to ‘The Crater’, but it already managed to grab media headlines across New Zealand. And not surprisingly. If built, this would have been the world’s very first such sunken stadium!

For reference, this is the original 2006 stadium plan:

New Auckland Stadium