FC Cincinnati are playing their third season in MLS but their first in a new stadium. Club fans can boast a unique, multimedia facade of the facility and a large number of high-standard seats.
Populous taking over design works from MEIS
The construction of TQL Stadium with a capacity of 26,000 seats cost $ 250 million and took just over 2 years. The main contractor was Turner Construction and the final design was prepared by Populous.
FC Cincinnati's new home is located in West End. The facility was built on a plot previously occupied by parking lots and Willard Stargel Stadium, where high school competitions were held.
This site was one of the three areas that were considered when building a venue for a new club that signed up for MLS. The approval to create a new arena in this location was given in April 2018.
A month later, Cincinnati's MLS application was accepted and the franchise was allowed to enter the league in 2019. Until the construction of the new ground was completed, FC Cincy played its home games at Nippert Stadium.
The design of the facility was entrusted to the MEIS studio, but in March 2019 the change of the architectural office was announced. Populous stepped into action and made amendments to the documentation while the earthworks were in progress.
Vision of illuminated stadium
The facade of the ground was to be changed from a translucent membrane to an intricate set of 513 fins, each richly covered with LED lights. In the end, 387 of them were installed (287 of which are illuminated).
As a result, the facade provides great ventilation and may become a living screen at night. This is not possible only on the west side, which is closer to homes of the local community and light pollution is an issue. The roof was also redesigned to ensure rain protection for all rows of stands.
Construction began on December 18, 2018 with the cornerstone laying ceremony. Pouring of the foundations started in July 2019, and in November of the same year, works related to erection of the steel structure. Spring 2020 was the time of completion of the upper bowl, while the roof was ready in summer.
In the autumn of last year, pitch was laid and scoreboards were installed. In winter, the assembly of seats began. Ultimately, the stadium was finished in the spring of 2021 and it opened on May 16 during a match against Inter Miami.
Facade is definitely the most characteristic part of the venue. There are over 4 kilometres of LEDs at the disposal of the arena management, thanks to which graphics, logos and inscriptions can be displayed.
The interior of the building is a continuous 360-degree bowl covered with a roof. The east and south stands are two-tier and the west stand has the vast majority of premium seats, which are located at different levels.
Lots of seats for business and fanatics
Richer supporters have at their disposal 53 private boxes, 2 party suites and 3 field-level suites. In total, the premium seats can accommodate as many as 4,500 fans, as much as 17% of the total capacity - the most in MLS.
Single-tier north stand "The Bailey" is part of the arena for the club's most die-hard fans, where there are only standing places. This is also where the widest screen in MLS was arranged. This stand has a capacity of 3,170 seats and is quite steep with an angle of 34 degrees.
To the east of the stadium, there is a view of Over-the-Rhine, a historic German working-class district with many bars and small breweries. There is also an impressive staircase overlooking the aforementioned district.
TQL stadium covers an area of 12.4 acres and 10,000 tons of steel were used for its construction. Fans have 6 entry gates and 30 toilets at their disposal. TV commentators can use 3 booths and radio journalists can use 4 cabins.
Author: Tomasz Sobura