Bern is getting ready for EURO 2008 with its new stadium complex in Wankdorf. The architecture is functional, with the atmosphere being provided by dynamic light.

The 2008 European Football Championship will be hosted by Switzerland and Austria. The host cities are already preparing for the event, presenting a mixture of renovated and newly built sports venues. In the federal capital of Berne, the "Stade de Suisse" was ceremonially opened at the end of July – and with a capacity of 32,000 this is largest stadium in Switzerland. Located in the suburb of Wankdorf, its predecessor was the site of the 1954 "Wonder of Berne", where the German team beat Hungary to win the World Cup. The new building is also the home of the "BSC Young Boys" whose club colours of yellow and black rule the terraces on match days.

The various lounges, restaurants and VIP enclosures play an ever-increasing role in stadium design. The actual football match just becomes a backdrop for gastronomic delights and social get-togethers – and the bars and restaurants become a centre of attraction even in the off-season. Panoramic windows and omnipresent giant screen TVs keep the punters in touch with what’s happening on the pitch. The interior design is modern and functional yet elegant throughout, with scenographic light providing the right atmosphere and mood to this setting. The ERCO lighting control system combines coloured accents from ERCO Varychrome luminaires into dynamic light scenes. Thus, for instance, Focalflood floodlights above the bar shelves and the coloured LED rings on the Skim downlights change their colours in synchronism.

The functional building incorporates a shopping arcade and additional facilities, making it a lively new centre even apart from the sports activities. However, its boldly cantilevered roof clearly identifies the building as a stadium even from afar. This effect as a distant beacon is emphasised by the illumination of the roof corners using powerful Focalflood floodlights – lighting that at night also gives the roof the impression of floating in the air.

The access level between the terraces and the VIP area is characterised by wall elements in team-livery yellow. Signposts and inscriptions follow the sober tradition of Helvetic typography. Instead of low-contrast ambient lighting, the lighting designers use Cylinder surface-mounted directional luminaires to emphasise vertical and horizontal architectural elements, thereby vibrantly structuring the space.

Address and further information:

Nationalstadion AG
Papiermühlestrasse 71
Postfach 646
CH-3022 Bern

Tel.: +41 (31) 344 88 88
Fax: +41 (31) 344 88 89

Parties involved:

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Luscher Architectes + Architekten Schwaar & Partner
Luscher Architectes, Lausanne

Interior design:
Conny Ramseyer
Ramseyer & Steiger AG, Bern

Main contractor:
Marazzi AG, Bern

Lighting design: Neuco AG, Zürich

Statics: Ove Arup & Partners, London; Beyeler Ingenieure, Muri

Facts and figures:

32,000 capacity (largest stadium in Switzerland)
Total construction cost: CHF 370 million
Additional uses: Co-op shopping centre, restaurants, Medico-Center, offices, vocational colleges
Construction period: July 2001 - Summer 2005

ERCO Newsletter - inspiring projects, new products and fresh lighting knowledge

Subscribe to the newsletter
Your data will be handled confidentially. For further information see Data protection declaration
From now on, for convenience and speed, we will be emailing the ERCO Newsletter in a digital format on a regular basis to help you keep up with the latest news from ERCO. We aim to ensure that you’re updated about events, awards, fresh lighting knowledge, project reports and product news along with reports from the lighting and architectural sectors. The publication is free and you can unsubscribe at any time.