Stadion Miejski Widzewa Łódź
|907 (Away section)|
|Clubs||Stowarzyszenie RTS Widzew Łódź|
|Inauguration||18/03/2017 (Widzew Łódź - Motor Lubawa, 2-0)|
|Construction||26/01/2015 - 03/02/2017|
|Cost||PLN 138 million|
|Design||Pracownia Architektoniczna Ferdzynowie|
|Address||Piłsudskiego 138, 92-300 Łódź, Poland|
Description: Stadion Widzewa
There were more plans for a new Widzew stadium than we could count. First ones surfaced as early as 1940s, then 1970s. But instead of moving, the old one was remodeled. Then ideas for relocation returned in 1980s and 1990s. By early 2000s it became clear the club was unlikely to move, so instead visions of a brand new stadium were drawn. First one for 19,100 people (2008), then a much more ambitious one for over 33,000 in 2010. The latter one was subject to negotiations, but no private partner opted to take part without large annual subsidies from the city of Łódź.
Finally, in 2013 work to create the current stadium began, this time much more rational in terms of scale and budget. Entirely funded by the city, the stadium’s cost was capped at PLN 150 million (half of the 2010 estimate), envisaging three stands with option to deliver fourth one and increase capacity to 18,000. The tender was launched in design+build formula and delivered such positive results that it was decided to deliver all four stands at once, still ending with a PLN 138 million budget.
The joint venture of Mosty Łódź (contractor) and PA Ferdzynowie (architects) delivered a very robust project within the low price and in a timely fashion, not exactly a regular occurrence in Poland. The last game of the old ground was played in November of 2014 and by January construction could begin on the cleared site. From excavation to installation of the last elements it was supposed to last 22 months, ended with a slight delay in February 2017.
Despite its low budget the stadium represents fine quality, meeting UEFA Category 3 and with option of future upgrade to Category 4. Simple, largely prefabricated structure is decorated by brickwork-imitating cladding in the west, which is said to be a tribute to Łódź’s brick architecture. The west stand’s floor space is significantly larger than on all remaining sides of the stadium. It hosts not only the sporting, media and corporate facilities (including 24 boxes), but also office space used partly by Widzew, all spread across 4 levels.
Remaining stands have no more than 2 levels under the single-tiered seating bowl. One of these offers catering and toilets to matchday guests, while the ground level is partly hoped to attract commercial outlets that would operate on a daily basis. The stadium has no external fencing, which is rare in Poland and makes it the more attractive for daily use. That said, all three stands apart from the west one have a rough appearance with concrete and steel being barely hidden by metallic mesh.
The continuous seating ring offers just over 18,000 seats, over 900 of them in the away section. Interestingly, part of the north end is tubular to allow for fast dismantling and creation of a concert stage. This way no concert would lead to serious damage of the field. All of the stadium is covered by simple but efficient roof with 2,000 m2 of polycarbonate cladding to allow proper sunlight access.
The stadium made history already before opening. It’s the first newly built venue in Poland to have season tickets sold out. 15,310 people bought their 2016/17 entry cards (best result in the country despite other having many more seats to sell) and it would have been even more if not for the cap on sale. It’s even more impressive when taking into account that Widzew achieved this as a 4th league club.