FIFA awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup today. And you can’t host the World Cup without a marquee stadium: In this case, a bubbly confection that grows off a historic structure like a parasitic UFO.
The stadium, VTB Arena Park, is designed by Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat and his Russian partner Mikhail Posokhin. Their plans include building a park with public green space, shopping, restaurants, training facilities, and even a hotel. The big design move here is the redevelopment of the Dynamo Moscow Stadium, a football arena and erstwhile Olympics venue built in 1928. With the new setup, two stadia will be plunked down over the old one, so that the existing perimeter facade is neatly preserved.
The design brief promises that VTB Arena will be a “contemporary multifunctional urban regenerator that will play a key role in transforming its wider surroundings.” It’s a familiar refrain among stadium architects. (Remember South Africa?) But in this case, it might actually be true. Instead of inserting a white elephant smack dab the middle of nowhere, the architects are taking care to preserve — and expand on — what’s already there.