Belgian Pro League football team Club Brugge will have one of the most beautiful stadia in Europe, according to Mayor of Bruges Dirk de Fauw, after plans for the project were presented.

A group led by Belgian architecture firm B2Ai and French counterpart SCAU have been appointed to develop the plans, which will see a new stadium built on the site of the current 29,000-seat Jan Breydel Stadion.

The new stadium will seat 40,000 fans, is intended to provide a more intimate experience, and includes a number of eye-catching design elements. These will include its exterior being draped in a special type of highly resistant perforated textile covering.

“Even when the stadium ‘sleeps’, it still looks alive,” Mathieu Cabannes, partner at SCAU, and Xavier Callens, chief design officer at B2Ai, said, according to the Architectura.be website. “A membrane surrounds the facade that fulfils the two objectives of the project: it gives the events in and around the stadium an exceptional appearance and it evokes a feeling of softness. 

“It ensures that the stadium in the district and the park ‘fades’, so that it does not stand out to the local residents. The membrane is transparent enough to make it clear that the stadium is alive inside, but also mysterious enough not to reveal everything at first glance. 

“The structure acts like a filter: not only visually, but also for the weather conditions, the sound etc. The refined appearance is reminiscent of Bruges lace, and the ambiguity of the material contrasts with that which is typically used.”

Internally, the stadium will feature a 12,000-seat stand modelled on the famous ‘yellow wall’ at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park. Its roof structure will also be unique for stadia in Belgium, while it will also be one of the few in Europe to feature a centre-hung video cube.

With the site located amid residential property, the project is also set to include a commitment to develop new parkland as part of efforts to make the stadium blend in with the local environment. Cabannes and Callens said: “We thought carefully about the temporary and spatial connection of the whole – the park and the stadium, that is. 

“We want to satisfy everyone with this – we limit the visual and sound impact for local residents by allowing the stadium to merge with the park. And for the supporters, we create an arrival experience that immediately creates an atmosphere and a thrilling, exciting feeling.”

In March, Club Brugge played down fresh reports concerning plans for a new stadium, which emerged following the staging of the first consultation event with local residents. Club Brugge spoke out after the event was held to address the concerns of locals. Residents were given an explanation of the state of affairs and the way in which the project will be tackled, in the presence of the club chairman Bart Verhaeghe and De Fauw.

The story hit the headlines in January when the City of Bruges outlined a proposal for new stadia for Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge, with the plans not being met with approval by the latter. Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge currently share the Jan Breydel Stadion, which is owned by the City of Bruges. The stadium opened in 1975 and was one of the venues for the 2000 UEFA European Championships, which Belgium co-hosted with the Netherlands.

Belgian business newspaper L’Echo said stakeholders are aiming to commence work in the summer of 2021, with a view to complete in time for the 2022-23 season. “From this autumn, we will finalise our permit application and introduce its environmental component next spring,” said Verhaeghe.

De Fauw supports the project and believes Bruges could soon welcome “the most beautiful stadium in Belgium, perhaps even in Europe”.

Images: B2Ai