Time is ticking down for one of football’s all-time greatest arenas.
If you aren’t aware already, both Inter and AC Milan have together stated their intentions to *holds back tears* replace the San Siro. The proposed new stadium, currently referred to as Nuovo Stadio Milano, is anticipated to hold 60,000 supporters and be raring to go for the 2022-23 season. The hiccup in this scheme is the 2026 Winter Olympics, for which the current stadium is expected to host the opening ceremony. Whenever the day comes, however, both Milan clubs are now firmly behind the switch of venue.
I have mixed views to say the least on the proposed move, but my scepticism is already well-documented here at Serpents. Go check out my previous piece on a personal trip to San Siro if you’re intrigued.
Last week, two sporting architecture companies brought forward their visions for Inter and Milan’s new home; Populous and Sportium. Two grand but contrasting ideas were released to the public to fawn over, and now that we’ve had some time to digest both plans, it’s time to do what we do best; give sarcastic, metaphor-filled reviews for each one. Let’s dig in.
The Cathedral (Populous)
How to win over the Milan public for your controversial new stadium plans? Pay homage to the Duomo, of course.
‘The Cathedral’, at first sight, is very impressive. I may be shut down for saying this by those more familiar with the city than myself, but it does have a Milanese vibe. There’s a lot of glass, a lot of lights, but most interestingly there’s a lot of trees.
In fact, the plan here is to make the Nuovo Stadio Milano the most sustainable football stadium in Europe. There’s a water collection system on the roof, 22 acres of greenery and solar panels lining the roof. An ambitious ideal that responds to the challenges of our time. Well, I guess you have to compensate for splashing out $800 million on an enormous building filled with lights and noise and stuff.
Apparently, this new ground will be the most ‘intimate’ in European football, too. Make of that what you will.
For Interisti, there’s an element of uniqueness about this stadium. There’s a light-up azure snake coiling its way around the structure for when the Nerazzurri are at home. Sssssssnazzy.
Aside from all this, there’s the typical assurances of cool new bars and food stalls to blow all your money before you’ve even found your seat.
Overall, I’m a fan. The basis for the design is appropriate for the city while keeping tasteful and authentic. Also, I’d be keen on sticking with a traditional four-ended stadium rather than going along with the modern trend of wrap-around domes. A bit more mention of what this project would do for the San Siro district besides trees would be nice as the area could do with an injection of life, but I’m sure that’ll come in time. As is often said when house-hunting, I could see us being happy here.
The Rings of Milano (Sportium)
Okay, you know what I said about domes…
Again, it’s hard not to be impressed, however doubtful you may be of replacing the Meazza. Rings seem to be the main theme here, apparently symbolising the interlocking community of Milan and its two rival clubs sharing a home. It’s not my preferred theme, but I am keen on the opportunity to call the Derby della Madonnina winners ‘the Lord of the Rings’.
Contrasting lights is, as with the other design, a key feature. The lighting plan here seems more similar to that Bayern and 1860 Munich at the Allianz Arena. Blue vibes for when Inter are playing, red for AC Milan, and a split for the derby. Cue angry ragings about half-and-half scarves and what not.
The trees are back, albeit not as plentiful as with ‘The Cathedral’. There’s also a mention of acoustic control so that nearby residents don’t come knocking during a late evening fixture telling Conte to keep the noise down.
Sportium’s blueprint does seem very inclined towards benefitting the district, which is good to see. Aside from the noise-reducing feature, there’s images showing various new buildings, a seemingly public football pitch, and a park vibe to the whole thing. The district of San Siro deserves this treatment.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this vision. I’m just not fulling convinced this is unique enough for these two great clubs. As I said before, domes just don’t wet my tastebuds. I know we have to move on and not just copy the previous ground, but it doesn’t scream Milan to me, whereas Populous’ ideas at least come closer.
So there you have it. The narrow winner, for me, is ‘The Cathedral’. I know you’re sat there reading this thinking how wrong I am, planning some sort of ring-based vengeance for me. Do tell me why in the comments below.
Friendly comments of agreement would be nice, too.