FC Cincinnati’s new architect behind West End Stadium unveils new design

FCC unveils new stadium design

CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - FC Cincinnati publicly unveiled the new design of its West End Stadium by its new architect Tuesday morning.

Club managing owner and CEO Carl H. Lindner III, Club President Jeff Berding and new architect Populous’ Jonathan Mallie – the lead architect on the project – unveiled the new design Tuesday morning.

Populous was hired in March after FCC parted ways with original architect for the new stadium Meis.

During the unveiling, Lindner said part of the goal for the new design was to create a facility that will be recognized and associated with Cincinnati.

He said there is not a stadium in the world that looks like the West End Stadium.

The $250 million stadium construction cost is being privately funded by the club’s ownership group, FCC says.

The team dubbed the stadium ‘The Jewel of the Queen City’s Crown.’

Our partners with the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that FCC owners made the change and chose Populous to replace Meis as architect to “ensure the team achieves its project goals.”

Those goals are “to deliver an exceptional stadium and an exceptional fan experience to the City of Cincinnati,” FCC President Jeff Berding told The Enquirer.

Populous has experience with MLS stadiums. They are the firm behind Minnesota United’s Allianz Field which was completed in 2019, D.C. United’s Audi Field in 2018, and Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park which was completed in 2011.

Those three MLS stadiums are considered some of the top soccer-specific venues in North and Central America, The Enquirer says.

The company is also internationally recognized, having designed the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as well as Soccer City in Johannesburg for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and stadiums for the 2012 Olympics in London and 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“There’s a dedication and authenticity to soccer in Cincinnati that rivals any city in the U.S. Our design for FC Cincinnati harnesses the energy of the fans to create a world-class soccer atmosphere,” said Mallie.

The team says West End Stadium will have a 360-degree canopy roof that will cover every seat in the stadium.

The wave-like external structure of the stadium will be made up of 513 vertical fins that will come with custom LED lighting on each fin. The lighting will help the stadium appear to glow during games.

The fins on the outside of the stadium will also allow unique motion sequences to be displayed on the stadium’s east-facing side, the team says. This is a one-of-a-kind lighting feature, they say.

FC Cincinnati unveils new design for West End Stadium

The west side of the stadium will feature a more traditional, glass aesthetic, the team says, to create a smooth transition into the surrounding neighborhood.

There will be six entrance gates on the concourse level that can be accessed by the ‘Grand Staircase’ that will rise 30 feet from Central Parkway. The team says this will create a regal entrance for the supporters march.

Final seating capacity for the stadium is between 26,000 and 26,500, pending the final seating manifest.

The field will be natural grass and reach 110 yards by 75 yards with a central field tunnel that will guide teams out inches away from the fans, the team says.

There will be 59 suites including two party suites and three field-level suites, the team says, which is the most in an MLS stadium that does not also host an NFL team.

Premium club areas will hold 4,500 total seats and The Bailey will hold 3,100 safe-standing seats. The Bailey will encompass nearly the entire north end of the stadium, the team says.

The farthest seat from the pitch will sit 130 feet away in the upper mezzanine which will wrap around three sides of the stadium.

The closest seat is 15 feet from the field, the team says.

West End Stadium will have two video boards and two LED ribbon scoreboards that wrap around the mezzanine, as well.

Berding would not say Meis was fired and instead focused on the completion of the stadium which is promised to be by March 2021.

The agreement with Major League Soccer includes penalties if the stadium’s opening is delayed, The Enquirer says.

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The previous architect, Meis, was the design firm behind the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium and had been part of the plans for FCC’s MLS stadium since 2017. Then, firm owner Dan Meis and Berding expected the stadium to be built in northern Kentucky.

Meis never commented on their departure from the project.

Cincinnati’s Elevar Design Group remains part of the building process.

Both Linder and Berding released statements following Tuesday’s design unveiling.

“We are so proud of this incredible design that Populous has delivered to FC Cincinnati. It has been so well-thought and concepted, so carefully crafted. We believe it will stand as a true icon and unifying force in our city. Our deep passion for FC Cincinnati is to create a legacy in this city, contribute a positive impact on our community and help raise the profile of Cincinnati not only nationally, but also around the world. We believe that soccer, as the world’s game, is a true unifying force and can bring our region closer together. West End Stadium provides us a remarkable platform to continue pushing those goals even further and enhance our impact not only locally, but across the globe. With West End Stadium as our platform, more people will learn about – and fall in love with - Cincinnati. Locally, our region’s youth will dream of stepping out on the West End Stadium pitch, playing for FC Cincinnati, and representing the Queen City in a game that is broadcast around the world. Those are incredible motivating factors behind everything we do and West End Stadium is central to actualizing those ambitions.”

— FC Cincinnati CEO and managing owner Carl H. Linder

“As a Cincinnati native and life-long resident, I have nothing but pride knowing our West End Stadium will be a strong symbol of this city on the world stage. We incorporated a lot of research and first-person feedback from fans and executives around the league with the goal of setting a new standard for both design and experience. We firmly believe we’ve not only matched the league’s best, but pushed the bar further and will deliver a superior fan experience for our incredible fan base. A strong reason why we’re in this position as a first-year MLS team just four years after our founding is because of the amazing, visible pride and exuberance of our fan base. West End Stadium was designed to showcase and harness that passion and create an extraordinary atmosphere and home-field advantage for our team. We cannot wait to start playing in West End Stadium in 2021.”

— FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding.

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