Greece: PAOK FC have chosen their new stadium designer

source:; author: Mateusz Osmola

Greece: PAOK FC have chosen their new stadium designer The iconic Greek club has decided that their new stadium will be designed by acclaimed architectural studio Populous. The firm specialises in sports facilities and has a number of successful projects in its portfolio. PAOK commissioned the architects to prepare the concept after securing government funding guarantees.


The current home of the Thessalonians is Stádio Toumba, which was built in 1959. The stands of this legendary venue can accommodate 28,703 fans. The facility is owned by the club and its official name is Stádio PAOK. Over the years, the arena has been associated with the Toumba area in which it is located and hence the name attached to it referring to the location of the club's headquarters.

In its rich history, the stadium has hosted several matches of the Greek national team. The venue was chosen as one of the training stadiums for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The need for modernisation therefore arose. Work began in 2003 and it was commissioned just before the Games.

Stadio Toumba© Instagram: @giannis_bek1

The most significant change was the construction of a new four-storey building behind the main west stand. The structure houses the VIP boxes and lounges, television and press areas as well as the club offices. A new roof was also installed over the west stand, while other works included the installation of new seating, refurbishment of the locker rooms, replacement of the pitch and additional reinforcement of the concrete pillars under the north, curved stand.

In 2012, PAOK gained a new shareholder in the person of Ivan Savvidis. This made further upgrades possible, which began in 2012, but most of the changes were made between 2014 and 2015, when PAOK played in the Europa League. A presidential suite was created in the central area and the media centre was renovated. In 2015, the pitch was replaced.

The club from Thessaloniki was already trying to build a new arena in 2020. There was even a design ready to implement, drawn by A&S Architects, which we wrote about here. However, nothing came out of these plans and it has now been decided to entrust the task of preparing a new project to the acclaimed architectural studio Populous. The company specialises in sports facilities and has a number of successful projects in its portfolio around the world. Just to mention London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Groupama Stadium in Lyon or Estadio Akron in Zapopan.

Toumba© A&S Architects

The architects have stated that the first phase of work will explore the possibilities of creating a flexible stadium and surrounding grounds that can be adapted to host a range of professional and community sporting events. The aim is to create a world-class facility that will strengthen the social and economic fabric of Thessaloniki. Populous' design aims to integrate the proposed stadium with public transport and infrastructure, as part of a new masterplan that will catalyse revitalisation.

Social integration will be at the heart of the design process as the proposed stadium will meet international accessibility standards. The planned new facilities will include a family-friendly zone, along with state-of-the-art audiovisual and communication technologies. All those measures will be used to create a 21st century fan experience and help attract and engage a new generation of PAOK FC supporters.

Stadio Toumba© Instagram: @giannis_bek1

Barbara Vasilatou, Project Lead and Senior Associate at Populous, said: We look forward to working alongside PAOK FC and the wider team to deliver a cutting-edge, inclusive and sustainable new home for the club. On a personal level, I am immensely proud to be involved in a project of such prestige in my home country. We will deliver a world-class design that places people at its heart and is embedded in its community and the local environment. The new stadium will be a unique landmark in the beautiful City of Thessaloniki that both fans and Thessalonians will cherish for generations to come.