An area open seven days a week that is suitable for families. Juventus’s new stadium is the first to be privately held by a team in Italy and it opens the way for a different manner of thinking about the relationship between the club, fans and the city it calls home.
The new Juventus stadium was inaugurated on September 8, 2011. It has been touted as the facility that will change the game. This statement gives a clear idea of the importance that the new facility will have on Italian football. The Juventus Stadium, is the first privately held stadium in Italy and many are hoping that it marks the beginning of a profound change in the relationship that Italian soccer teams have with their stadiums. Currently all clubs rent the facility from the municipality in which they play and are often faced with such high rates that there is no initiative to improve the infrastructure. The result is plain for all to see: Italian stadiums are old, dysfunctional and an eyesore.All teams have to struggle with the fact that football is more evolved in other countries. The new Juventus stadium marks an uncompromising break with the past: it is modern, dedicated only to football, with the stands close to the field. Inside and out you feel an atmosphere of serenity and security that Italian football seemed to have forgotten. It is a project from which all other Italian clubs should try to get ideas to advance the entire movement and bring back fans to the stadium (in Italy on average stadiums are filled to 50% capacity, in England it is 90% ).
From the beginning, comfort was the main focus for the new stadium. The goal was to create a place to meet and to have fun and where people could spend some time in the company of friends or family not only on game days, but during the whole week as well. Adjacent to the stadium is the huge Area 12 shopping center, which has 60 shops including the Leclerc-Conad hypermarket. In spring of 2012 the Juventus Museum will be inaugurated. Inside this area, there are 30,000 square meters of green areas and some 4,000 parking spots. It is a place built for everyone, not just football fans. It has all the necessary facilities to entertain the whole family during the course of a day.
Francesco Calvo, the business manager, highlights how the very experience of a sporting event changes with the new stadium: “Hospitality is the first step to changing the mentality of the fan. The stadium is not only a venue for football matches; it is a whole world waiting to be discovered that includes excellent services, entertainment and events dedicated to the various audiences. The Premium Club offers the opportunity to bring together football and companies”. The Premium Club, which includes 4,000 seats and offers exclusive and high level service, can be used by companies for public relations events during matches and during the week as well. The Club’s investment in the stadium project was about 122 million Euros, including an agreement with Sportfive for the naming rights, the sale to Nordiconad of all the shopping areas outside the stadium and a financing agreement signed with the Institute for Sports Credit. The investment gives the Club an important industrial asset. The new stadium aspires to become an important source of income for the Club. The stadium, as demonstrated by the comparison with European standards of ‘best practices’, is an essential conduit for increased revenue. The aim is to reach a more balanced flow of revenue to compete with all the major European clubs. “With this facility we will try to correct an all too Italian anomaly – explained Francesco Calvo. The revenue from stadiums in our country represents just 13% of the clubs’ revenue, as compared to 27% in England or Germany. As for Juventus, last year we earned about 11 million Euros from the stadium. This season even though we maintained the same prices, we expect to achieve 32 million, thanks to the increased capacity, the naming rights and the additional services, such as the Juventus Premium Club”.
The team of architects involved in the design of the new stadium, which has a capacity of 41,000 seats and covers a 360,000 sq. m. area was headed by Gino Zavanella from the Gau firm and Hernando Suarez from the Shesa firm. Built upon the ashes of the old Delle Alpi Stadium, where Juventus played from 1990 to 2006, the Juventus Stadium is entirely distinct from the stadium that was built for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. “First of all there is the proximity of the grandstands to the field – said Francesco Gianello, stadium manager – which at the lowest point is 7.5 meters from the pitch and the distance is identical around the entire facility. We have eliminated the concept of the ‘curva’ (the curved part of the stadium typically occupied by the most dedicated fans): those who sit in the north grandstand, in fact, are at the same distance from the field than those who sit in the West grandstand”. Another point of pride is the aspect of safety. “An innovative project was devised for the control systems, while the installations and the broadcasting system comply with the most modern standards and they were applied honoring the requirements established by national and international regulations”.
The difference with the past is quite evident, starting from the wide ramps that lead inside, moving around the structure; the walkways are clear and there are no tunnels or corridors. The grandstands are accessible via 16 suspended passages that offer fascinating views of the stands, the curves and the adjacent spaces. Inside, there are no barriers between the fans and the playing field, the athletic track that blocked the view of the bottom rows has been eliminated. Overall, the absence of barriers, walls and obstacles creates a sensation of ideal safety especially for those who would like to take their families to the stadium. The architectural philosophy that was used intends to restore some serenity in an environment that all too often has been associated with episodes of violence. “The image of Italian football in the past few years has often been tied to rioting and violence – said Gion Zavanella at Stadia Magazine. Had we stopped at investing only in a stadium, the citizens of Turin would have been disappointed. The fact that we built a whole lineup of services that extends beyond the world of football has made this project all the more important for the residents of the area”. The stadium has become part of an urban redevelopment project for the area of Continassa found in the Vallette quarter of Turin. The project also had a significant impact on road construction; a new interchange was constructed for those arriving from outside of Turin.
Two of the most prestigious international industrial design brands from Turin have taken part in the project. Pininfarina Extra’s touch can be found inside, from the flooring to the lights, from the furniture to the lounge area. “From this project a series of common elements link the brand identity of Juventus, the sporting club and Pininfarina together. They are all characterized by elegance, essence and that Italian touch that becomes a mark of distinction. Our goal was to give the facility style and aesthetic personality, without ever losing sight of functionality, comfort, security, and the essential requirements for a 41,000 seat capacity facility”, said Paolo Pininfarina, President and CEO of Pininfarina Extra.
Giugiaro Design’s influence is evident in the stadium’s profile, especially in the curved section that links the cover to the external walls. The exterior part is formed by thousands of rectangular plates that are made of a highly technological aluminum material. The plates, available in three different shades of grey, have been organized in a precise order. The darker tones near entrances gradually become softer. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification, red-white-green seats have been put in the higher area of the stands. “Juventus’ stadium is inspired by a friendlier and more welcoming mood with respect to the past, it is integrated into the territory – says Fabrizio Giugiaro, speaking to ‘Tuttosport’ (newspaper). There was an attempt to use colors and graphics, giving life to a highly profitable building. It did not cost much considering the optimal and attentive yields”. Another idea from Giugiaro was to paint the pillars supporting the structure. In addition to red, which by law had to be present at the top, to make the structure visible from the air, it was decided to add the white in the middle and green at the base, so as to give the effect of two gigantic Italian flags that embrace the stadium.
The seats that Juventus has chosen for the new stadium are the Mondoseat 9 model, manufactured and installed by Mondo. Apart from providing comfort for the spectators, they have been used as a decorative element to customize the facility’s interior. Juventus asked to use alternating white and black seats in the east grandstand to create stripes to reproduce the team jersey. Meanwhile, in the west grandstand, yellow seats were used to create two stars that represent the Italian football league championships they won. From a technical point of view, the seats have a foldaway steel structure that facilitates movement, the backs and the base of the seats are made with nylon and they have been conceived to be especially resistant. All the seats in the facility are equipped with various mechanisms to prevent interference against potential vandal attacks and in order to abide by strict international safety codes.
Respect for the environment was one of the most important aspects both during the demolition of the old stadium and in planning and building of the new arena. The planners, in agreement with Juventus, have managed to ensure a low environmental impact at the worksite by using eco-friendly technologies. All materials that could be recycled from the old stadium were recovered and used either in the new project or in other worksites in the same area. This recycling operation has significantly reduced the impact on the environment.