The dream of Champions League football in Bærum can be fulfilled in a few years

Hille Melbye Arkitekter, led by Robin Rakke, has been working for many years to realize the new Nadderud Stadium in Bærum. Together with general contractor Backe Stor-Oslo, Stefan Ekberg Arkitekter, Dr. Techn. Olav Olsen, Cushman & Wakefield, and others, Hille Melbye has finally won the competition to develop the extensive project with a sports park and stadium.

The project is commissioned by Bærum municipality. The task emphasizes the importance of creating both a competitive arena for elite football and an attractive meeting place for everyone in the local community on a daily basis.

Nadderud Sports Park and Stadium, where generations come together for everyday life and celebration!

For many years, Bærum Municipality has lacked a sustainable spectator facility for top football, the world’s largest and most unifying spectator sport. Nevertheless, some of the municipality’s football clubs have clung to the top ranks in Norway, both on the women’s and men’s sides. With this arena, top football in the municipality will become more competitive in the future.

“This will definitely contribute to the further development of top football in the municipality, and it will increase the attractiveness of attending matches for many of the more than 130,000 residents. A new arena where good sports performances are regularly created in front of large audiences will also give the municipality a strengthened identity outwardly, and even more importantly, a sense of community and belonging inwardly. Having one or more football clubs competing at the top level is not something many places are fortunate enough to have, and with this new arena, Bærum Municipality will continue to be able to excel in football in the future,” says Robin Rakke, architect at Hille Melbye Arkitekter.

What is being built must meet the requirements of the Norwegian Football Federation and UEFA, with 8,000 spectator seats and associated modern facilities. In addition, the arena will be planned to be as social and sustainable as possible, making it attractive and inclusive for as many people as possible on a daily basis. With good architectural design, the sports park and arena can continue to build a sense of belonging, increase safety, well-being, and cohesion, stimulate collaboration, mastery, and growth, and build identity, accessibility, and networks.

“A sustainable arena will, in short, have a positive impact on all areas of society in the years to come. This is about building and strengthening the local community, and it will be very exciting to be a part of it. We will approach the project with humility and with the goal of realizing as much of the potential in the task as possible,” Rakke explains.

A sustainable stadium and sports park with multiple offerings beyond top football

In the new arena, commercial areas will be important for creating meeting points, and not least for making it possible to operate top football on-site. There is great potential for shared use of spaces between the commercial section and the stadium areas that are otherwise only in use during major public events.

“A sustainable stadium for everyone must include more offerings than just football, which can make it a vibrant place – morning, afternoon, and evening – all week – all year round. With the right stakeholders involved, it will help increase the attractiveness of the overall project. This can include sports-related actors, health actors, restaurant/cafes, office concepts, or other forms of sports and activities,” Rakke explains.

A football stadium optimized for a great atmosphere

In Norway, and in the world at large, there are many football stadiums with different architectural designs. Some have open corners, some have stands divided into upper and lower sections, and all have different roof shapes. There is no single formula for what makes a good stadium, but some features may be more important than others.

“The stadium itself, with stands and roof, should preferably be designed to create an intimate and acoustically optimized outdoor space where conditions are right for the best possible atmosphere. This is often an underestimated success factor for a good stadium facility. Along with football performances, good atmosphere is one of the factors that can most affect attendance numbers. Mood spreads between people, and we should strive to create architectural frameworks where it is easier to create this atmosphere around a football match,” says Rakke.

Collaboration until the referee blows the whistle

Hille Melbye Arkitekter and Stefan Ekberg Arkitekter are now starting work on developing the project, in collaboration with general contractor Backe Stor-Oslo, Bærum municipality, and others. Collaboration is a relatively new implementation model that is becoming more and more common in the industry.

“This will be another experience with collaboration as an implementation model for us, and we believe that the end product will benefit from having all parties involved in the development of the project from the very beginning. It will be an incredibly exciting process to be a part of, and we look forward to presenting the product as it progresses,” says Ingvil Arntzen, CEO of Hille Melbye Arkitekter.

A decision to start the construction phase will first be politically processed in the fall of 2023. Completion and handover are planned for the start of the 2026 season.

Last fall, Robin Rakke wrote an opinion piece in Budstikka, where he described, among other things, the significance a new competitive arena could have for Bærum municipality and its residents. The opinion piece can be read here.