Parma, 6 April 2021 – During the presentation of the new Parma stadium, architect Alessandro Zoppini of Studio Zoppini, who is responsible for the design of the facility, opened up in detail on the inspirations for the project, as well as the details of the stadium itself.

“First off, I want to thank Kyle Krause and the Krause Group. Without great backing, there can be no great projects. I also want to thank the city because working in Parma is always a great honour. When you’re planning a public building, there’s always a lot of responsibility. These a monumental buildings that reflect the aura of a city, so it’s essential to understand the values that the buildings give off, as well as to understand the values of the community in order to picture them inside the building. We all, therefore, have a responsibility to create something that is heavily inspired by the city of Parma and, at the same time, can serve the local community. We have created a unique stadium inspired by Parma and that could only ever fit in this town. The stadium is to be a celebration of the city, a celebration of the people of Parma and of the sporting values of this city.”

“Obviously, the stadium must capture the essence of the city and this is what we have tried to do. How? By thinking about the stadium as more than just the pitch, so opening the stadium to the city and making sure that it becomes a place, in which the experience of being at the stadium is better than being at home. People go to the stadium to experience a unique coming-together of society and a sense of belonging. In modern times, a stadium has to be a place of connectivity because it can’t just be functioning on matchday. It needs to provide services that must be of the highest possible standard. We will, therefore, create a smart stadium that is truly connected. This then creates values because connecting to and attracting people means creating value via partnerships. We were inspired by Parma, by its historical buildings – the Palazzo Pilotta, the Cathedral, the Teatro Farnese – but also by Parma Calcio and by sport.”

“We hope to create an urban destination that can become a public space dedicated to the new generations. This is our plan now and will be done for the future. The site is an extraordinary one and our aim is to create a new focal point, along with the Parco Ferrari and the Cittadella, for young people, sport and entertainment so that the stadium may become a hub and a counterbalance for the historic city centre. The stadium must become an attractive part of this new urban focal point. In the meantime, we tried to work out how to preserve the stadium, but if our ambition was to create something that would open up to the city, then we know that the corners and the stands are immediately behind the boundary wall, so we reconfigured the space around the stadium to make it an urban space that the current condition does not afford. We remodelled the stands in such a way that a space of 10 metres between the stadium and the boundary line is guaranteed. The shape of the stadium has been made to accommodate the flow of people and the functions held within the stadium. We have designed two entry ramps that create a public square and that counterbalance the Piazza Petitot to form a whole new piazza. The rest of the space between the stand will have a volume of 12,00m2 and the external 5,000m2 will be open to the public every day.”

“Our ambition was to give something back to the city, a space that, until today, had been taken away and see it become a public space at the service of the community and the city. The shape was created by the studio; we were inspired by Parma and reinterpreted the stone and Masonic architecture in a more fluid, modern and technological manner. We transformed the notion of stone and brick into iron, a low-maintenance, lightweight, modern, pliable and cheap material, but one that is inspired by the textures and characteristics of materials of the past. Our facade is none other than a series of hollow iron pieces that interlink to form the shape of the functions taking place below. For the roof, we drew on the historical element of the roof of the Teatro Farnese, which is a very light wooden roof that almost seems to fly on the stone base. Our ambition was to create something similar but which would also become a technological object at the service of the team and the fans, making the outer part semi-reflective so that people walking around the outside of the stadium begin to see what is happening inside so that their experience begins outside. We want the fans’ experience to begin outside the stadium. We have focussed our attentions on the sector that generates the most atmosphere: the Curva, which will have a partially reflective stand from a visual standpoint so that the perception of the number of fans creating support for the local team is immediately doubled. We have also worked on the acoustics so that the noise from the Parma faithful travels to the opposite end, where there will be a sound-absorbent roof. The main accessibility will be the same as now, so VIP spectators and athletes will enter from the west side using the entrance door. There will be 25 boxes in the upper stand and some lounges below. We have fitted out the west stand with a series of spaces that will provide varying levels of hospitality, offering a service greater than just going to watch the game to people from all walks of life. There will be lounges placed next to the pitch, open, in a way that the people occupying them will have the impression of being part of the team and getting the same feeling for the game as the teams. On the upper level are the lounges for the gold and bronze level fans, which – having a separate entrance – will be used catering areas with restaurants open all week and with a view of the city from the western side of the stadium. Bronze fans will also have access via the ramps and will head up to lounges of 1,400m2 that may be reconfigured to host business events or conferences using the central and two side rooms. As is usual in stadia, the tendency is to give importance to the main stand and then, once the game is done, becomes dead space. The spaces under the stand, which we have called galleries, will be open to fans during the games, while after the event they will become public spaces open every day.”

We will bring the fans closer to the pitch, within seven metres at least. Our ambition was to create an extremely modern public building that was inspired by the past but that looks to the future with an urban space containing a piazza that may be used for public events. The two ramps surrounding the square will become a high-quality place of perception of access to the stadium and, at the same time, the spaces around the stadium will be unique places of gathering during the game and also for the community during the week. The most interesting part is the gallery, a covered space bordered on one side by the stands and on the other by the facade, which is transparent and will change lighting during the hours and days of the week.”

Parma Calcio president Kyle Krause jumped in to answer questions from the journalists present.

The main intention is to create an experience for the fans that is the best possible within Italy. Our other principal aim is to provide this facility to the city 365 days a year. We still haven’t set out the exact plan for the realisation of the project. We have two options. The first is to work on separate sections, the second is to do the whole thing in one go. Both options have their positives and negatives. As of now, we are open and are trying to consider which solution might have the most positive effects. This is mostly a private investment on the part of my family. The maximum capacity should be around where it is now; we’re not yet able to provide the exact number of seats but it shouldn’t differ too much from what it is now. Obviously, we want to leave a certain level of flexibility when it comes to the number of spectators that can enter the stadium. I want to give a particular thanks to the city, our partners and those that have supported us. Doing what we have done in such a short space of time was made possible by the support provided by those that have worked with us.”