Since the summer of 2007, approaching the city of The Hague by car means having your eyes drawn to a familiar landmark: the billowing silhouette of the ADO stadium with its robust, angular lighting masts. The stadium strikes a bold and somewhat tough pose, it seems. The light reflects on the aluminium citadel, as it radiates strength and daring. The high glass facade in front of the atrium counters this impression, as does the interruption in the lining of the roof and the irregular distribution of windows. These are the inviting and playful elements added to the home of The Hague’s football club.
Experience is number one
When the club left its old home in the Zuiderpark the fans feared a loss of atmosphere. That is the reason the architectural studio ZJA produced a design in which everything is tuned to the enhancement of spectator experience. First, there is the central hall, where supporters have a clear view of the players making the climb from the dressing rooms to the pitch.
The food court with concessions stands and the fan shop was given extra width, to offer inviting and comfortable access to the supporters. The 15.000 seats in the stadium offer an optimal view of the pitch. The front seats are only 4 meters away from the grass. At the corners of the stadium the rows of seats bend in such a way that there are no gaps in the rows of seats that would break up the crowd. This enables the crowd to more easily feel like one big cheering family when they are close together. For the same reason the acoustics of the stadium are not too muted. It works like a sound box. On entering the stadium, the enthusiasm from the stands should be engulfing. As the roof follows the outer line of the stands, all spectators are kept dry when it rains.
An update, please
In ZJA’s design philosophy flexibility is an important value. When circumstances and wishes change adaptation should be possible without too much cost in terms of money, time, material and energy. So when stadium management and the supporters association of ADO were looking for ways to improve the atmosphere in and around the stadium, ZJA was glad to join in.
At the time the stadium was designed an obstacle free, hooligan proof space external surrounding was a requirement. As time went by the atmosphere around Dutch football stadiums has improved and visiting an ADO game is a family outing, more than ever before. For that reason there was a wish to make the stadium more inviting.