AFL Architects has delivered a redevelopment masterplan for Iceland’s Laugardalsvöllur National Stadium that proposes to expand the venue to a capacity of 15,000.

Following appointment earlier this year as part of a “highly competitive” selection process, the AFL team has completed its assessment of the stadium, located in the capital city of Reykjavík.

With a current capacity of 9,800, Laugardalsvöllur was built in 1957 and has been renovated in several phases since. It has the second smallest capacity of any national stadium across European countries currently ranked in the top 100 of FIFA’s world rankings, and is not fully compliant with UEFA Category 4 requirements. It has therefore required exemptions and special preparations to host competitive matches in international football tournaments.

Part of AFL’s appointment involved the assembly of a specialist team supported by skilled, local representation. The team is a consortium of AFL / IPW… / Core Five / Hilson Moran and Ramboll. Local representation includes Mannverk, Mannvit and Arkis, who have provided geotechnical, climate and cultural advice to the project.

On behalf of Þjóðarleikvangur ehf, a private limited company established for the sole purpose of managing the stadium project; the KSÍ (Icelandic FA); the City of Reykjavík and the state; the team has delivered an Outline Business Case (OBC) complete with a recommended option for future development. The full report includes extensive analysis of the current position and key international data/benchmarks to develop and test a series of potential scenarios.

These scenarios comprised of redevelopment, new build, roofed and non-roofed options, for which initial layouts were drawn up with full consideration of the numerous environmental and geotechnical challenges in the region. These options were subsequently analysed against demographic and attendance figures, and costed with regard to P&L projections.

The final recommendation, when all factors were considered, is a new 15,000-capacity stadium with an openable roof. This proposal has been taken forward by the client for a final decision to be made by the Icelandic government, KSÍ and the City of Reykjavík.

Árni Geir Pálsson, chairman of the board at Þjóðarleikvangur, said: “As lead consultant, AFL Architects have exhibited an obvious determination to produce a successful venue for the Icelandic nation. Their recommendations have been delivered clearly, with inspiring and meaningful design solutions. I look forward to the future vision of Iceland’s National Stadium to be made a reality.”

John Roberts, director of AFL Architects, added: “To be selected by our client for such a nationally and historically important project was an honour for our team. It has been a testament of our ability to work openly and collaboratively, encouraging diverse ideas and bringing forward workable, effective solutions to some truly unique challenges. I am confident the vision we have delivered will be achieved. Iceland deserves a stadium that reflects their extraordinary footballing achievements.”

Images: AFL Architects