New stadium: Is it always that hard in Ankara?

source: StadiumDB.com

New stadium: Is it always that hard in Ankara? While researching this stadium we were constantly coming across statements like “you know how things are in Ankara”. Which supposedly stands to explain why this stadium was delivered so late, why it was built without solid plan in place and why we don't really know how much it had cost...

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Though Ankara is the capital, stadium-wise it's long been far behind other cities in Turkey. When the nationwide stadium boom was long ongoing, in 2014 local authorities promised two stadiums: one major for over 40,000 people and one smaller, called a boutique stadium, for 15,000. The larger one remains a mirage to this day.

Eryaman Stadyumu

That smaller stadium was to grow in distant but rapidly growing Eryaman suburb, Etimesgut borough, where a metro line was being created. Enabling works were launched in 2015 but official groundbreaking ceremony took place in May of 2016. Interestingly, by then the stadium was advertised as a 20,000-seater. Eventually it proved even bigger, with official capacity at 22,000.

Eryaman Stadyumu© FlyNFly CG

It's a very rare case of a stadium that had no specific tenant in mind, at least at early planning stage. In 2014-2015 it was subject to speculation, by 2016 it was openly hinted that Osmanlispor would move here and renderings even included its identity within the stadium's colour scheme and architecture.

Osmanlispor was owned by mayor Melih Gökçek but at the same time much disliked by fans of traditional Ankara teams, Ankaragücü and Gençlerbirliği. Eventually Gökçek had to retire as mayor, Osmanlispor lost its support and declined, ending up at its old stadium. Meanwhile, the two central clubs lost their historic 19 Mayıs Stadyumu in 2018 and thus became natual candidates for tenancy in Eryaman.

Eryaman Stadyumu© SAİT71 (cc: by-sa)

This proved problematic in terms of the stadium's identity. In 2016 it was advertised in Osmanlispor colours, after all, and even an ornamental Ottoman facade was proposed. With the 'Ottoman' club out of the way, the city ordered change to much cheaper and neutral facade mesh. The seating layout was long undecided and the final one manages to comprise both the colours of Ankaragücü (blue and yellow) and Gençlerbirliği (red and black, only at the main stand).

Eryaman Stadyumu© oguzhancoskun, wowTURKEY

The stadium is clad with very basic materials, rising 22 meters above the western plaza. Total built area is over 37,700 m2, including the main building with 4 levels in the west. Also, making use of topography, architects provided room for additional uses below the public concourse in the east, where street level is lower.

Eryaman Stadyumu© brs1905, wowTURKEY

The project's site covers 6.4 hectares beside one of Eryaman's main avenues and the new metro line. Its topography is uneven with land sloping from west to east. Architects decided to make use of it by creating a main public plaza with parking in the west, which transitions into the stadium's internal concourse. For those entering from the east or north the stadium is accessible via vast staircases. Thankfully, perimeter fencing was avoided and turnstiles are located under the actual facade.

We weren't able to confirm its final budget. Back in 2015 the stadium was contracted for TRY 67.5 million, by 2017 the price was confirmed at 80 million but it's surely not the final figure. Especially that work was extremely slow from late 2017 to late 2018, seeing many potential opening games missed.

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