This is how post-virus stadiums should be according to architect Fenwick

By Luis Villarejo

Madrid, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- Capacity reduction of up to 15 percent, automatic doors, activation of lights by infrared detection systems, application of the “no contact” culture – which includes self-flushing toilets and automatic soap dispensers – and mobile payment for tickets, drinks and purchases.

These are some of the measures put forward by the architecture studio Fenwick Iribarren for football stadiums in the new post-virus era COVID-19.

Mark Fenwick told EFE that the installation of fixed sanitary controls at the entrance of the stadiums – a measurement of body temperature and high technology for facial recognition linked to the database and prevent access to people at risk – would be decisive in the transformation of the current sports facilities before the new scenario that professional football will experience in the medium term.

Question: What capacity should be reduced so that fans could go to the stadiums to watch soccer in the post virus stage?

Answer: We believe that when we finish this stage of confinement and can return to the stadiums, something will change. This happens because we have to have a certain comfort, health security when we are in an area with many people. I estimate that we are between a 10 and 15 percent reduction in capacity; I think it will be a fairly reasonable goal.

Q. We assume that until the end of 2020 it will be a year without an audience in sports. Therefore, some structures will have to be reduced and improved. What is the degree of sustainability of the reforms that must be carried out in the stadiums?

A: I think these changes are structural. There have been quite a few examples. I remember when the great disasters in England changed stadiums with people standing up to people sitting down and seating capacity was reduced by 30 percent. Also after 9/11 the entire process of security change. All this I think is going to get better. It is necessary to see how the reduction of capacity is made, how the spaces where people mix are treated. But I think it is a sustainable and salable challenge.

Q: Within leisure, as they will buy food at the break, do you foresee any change?

R. I think that what we have to do is that people have “comfort” on queuing, going to the toilets… it is distance and not touching; there is one important thing not to touch. If technology, which we have, such as a mobile phone, allows us to order something and even bring it to the seat or notify you when your order is ready to go and pick it up. They are small systems that avoid these crowds of people and help people not to have to move as much in that half time.

Q. Lately all the clubs are choosing to build the stadiums outside cities, the land is cheaper, the impact is less on the neighbors… but it has the problem of how the fans arrive at the stadium. Considering the problem of public transport with the coronavirus, have you studied how to get so many people away from the city center without using public transport?

A: This is a challenge, let’s say, almost city. In this post virus era, public transportation is an awkward place to be. I think it is also a challenge of how to equip the trains, the subway, or the buses to that challenge of being able to create a comfort zone. I have always been, personally, in favor of stadiums in the city; like cathedrals. I think that the city, if I can walk to the stadium or go on public transport of a certain safety, I like it better.

I think we are seeing, both in stadiums and in the rest of leisure, that there will be more individual transportation, including bicycles. Arrivals at the stadium will have to prepare these new ways of traveling for people.

Q: Are entrances detectors too expensive to detect fan temperatures?

A: I think not. I think temperature technology, like security, is pretty cheap. The technology even of facial recognition of people and having a database of the cured, I think it is easier even than a security entry; which is more physical.

Q: Should the new large venues be multidisciplinary to host a soccer game or a concert so that the capacity is modelable?

A: Totally. I think that new stadiums have to be much more flexible. They have to be buildings that provide options for other sports. Also, one thing that I think is important as a responsibility and that we have been seeing is that large buildings have to be able to adapt to help in times of crisis like these. As we have been seeing at IFEMA to create hospitals. I think stadiums must also contribute to society in times of crisis.

Q: With the time ahead that we have without people in the stadiums, what do you propose to create an atmosphere? Sound?

A: A fundamental thing in stadiums is, exactly, that vision of people and sound, which I think change the event; I think that players don’t play the same with people or without people. Maybe tarps with pictures of people. Even if it is on television, there is a possibility that it can dress stadiums with people; technology exists, even if it is not the same.

Q. The stadiums, in addition to hosting a large number of spectators for the matches, are offices that host hundreds of workers every day. Do you think that the way of working of these workers will change?

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