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Spartak stadium design gives England 'upper hand' in World Cup clash

Spartack stadium

The engineer behind Spartak Moscow’s Otkritie Arena is confident England will feel “right at home” when they face Colombia in their crucial World Cup tie this evening.

With just hours to go before kick-off, England fans can dare to dream after Aecom head of sports Peter Ayres told New Civil Engineer that the 45,000-seater stadium had been designed to “look and feel like an English Premier League stadium”, giving Harry Kane and co the upper hand when play gets underway at 7PM (BST).

With stands positioned as close to the pitch as possible and the roof designed to ramp up the atmosphere, Ayres believes that Spartak’s stadium “will suit England perfectly”.

“Most of the other stadia in Russia have been designed by Russian architects and they are more like the stadia you find in Germany, with the fans sat away from the pitch,” Ayres said.

“However the stands at the Otkritie are as close to the pitch as possible with a wall of faces right up against the pitch, just like many Premier League stadiums.

“All of the corporate boxes and media areas are on one side of the stadium, instead of being dotted around, so the atmosphere in the other three stands is not interrupted.”

The atmosphere inside the stadium is also helped by a big heavy roof designed to cater for heavy snow loading in Moscow’s winters.

While it is designed to cater for five times the amount of loading as a stadium roof in the UK, it has also been designed to disguise its size and its enormous trusses, the longest of which spans 217m.

As a result, the reverberations from a singing crowd are amplified, creating a better atmosphere.

However things could have been very different, with original design proposals outlining a much more traditionally Russian design.

“When we first got involved in designing the stadium, the client originally wanted to construct a big stadium with massive arches, a big expansive roof and a moat around the pitch in front of the stands,” Ayres said.

“We quickly said that we could provide a much more suitable stadium that would be the best in Russia for club football.

“The client liked the Premier League stadiums so we tried to create something that was obviously Russian but felt like the stadia in England.”

Ayres added: “Of all the stadia in Russia this is most like a Premier League stadium and should give England the upper hand.”

Stadium Facts

1. The entire stadium sits on piles up to 45m long

2. The reinforced concrete structural frames are on a consistent 7.6m grid

3. The longer roof trusses span 217m along the length of the pitch, with a mid-span depth of 21m

4. The shorter trusses span 180m with a mid-span depth of 17m

5. A secondary roof structure of cellular beams spans from the primary trusses to the concrete columns at the back of the grandstand

6. The stadium broke ground in October 2010

7. The first game took place in September 2014 between Spartak Moscow and Red Star Belgrade

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Peter Ayles may be Aecom's Head of Sport but I hope he's not their head of language. '...with fans sat away from the pitch.'!

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