Monday 19 March 2018

Anglo-Irish consortium win race to design new RDS Arena

A consortium of architect firms, Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan Architects and London-based Grimshaw Architects, has won the international design competition for the multi-million-euro redevelopment of the RDS Arena. The RDS, with Leinster Rugby, will work to complete the design of a world-class venue that will host professional rugby matches, equestrian sports, concerts and other appropriate sporting opportunities as they arise.

Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson said: "This is a very exciting time for Leinster Rugby. We continue to make strides on the pitch with a home Champions Cup quarter-final against Bath to prepare for and we are naturally delighted to be making strides off the pitch and moving to the next stage of this project. Leinster Rugby has a loyal supporter base and the redeveloped capacity of 25,000 in a purpose-built venue will provide greater opportunities for our supporters and commercial operations. Gate revenue is a significant feature of our current business model, and we are sure that this redevelopment will help with this, as well as allowing us to explore additional commercial revenue streams."

Some supporters have expressed fears that the terracing would be lost in any new RDS Arena but Dawson was quick to allay those fears.

"We appreciate the special atmosphere that is generated on the back of the terracing we currently have in the Anglesea Stand. Matt O'Connor and indeed the players have also been quite vocal in their views that these are elements that need to be retained."

"We hope to have a terraced section in the new stadium to accommodate people who prefer this. We still have to get through the planning process and although the majority of supporters will be seated in the new RDS Arena, we do hope to cater for about 1,500 in the terrace section."

There is the small matter of the Irish bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and an enhanced RDS Arena could only improve the submission from an Irish point of view, said Dawson who also confirmed that Leinster Rugby will continue to play their home games as normal during the redevelopment of the RDS Arena which is expected to begin in 2016.

Irish Independent

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