AUSTIN (KXAN) — When the gates open and fans begin exploring Q2 Stadium ahead of the first-ever game there Wednesday, it’ll mark the culmination of a process that started with the stadium design in 2017.
Gensler Design Director Jonathan Emmett has been waiting for this moment a long time since he began putting together renderings of the stadium four years ago.
He hopes the first things fans notice is how intimate the setting is when the United States Women’s National Team debuts the stadium Wednesday when they take on Nigeria. Austin FC plays San Jose three days later in the club’s first-ever home match.
“It really feels as though every seat is close to the pitch, close to the action,” Emmett said.
The stadium was designed to replicate some of the features locals love most about Austin. That includes an open, inviting, and casual atmosphere, green spaces and seats, and a focus on embracing the outdoors.
“These open green spaces, many of the clubs, the restaurants open up to the outdoors, and really sort of create that indoor-outdoor atmosphere that really does feel quintessentially Austin,” Emmett said.”
When the idea of first bringing a team to Austin was discussed with Major League Soccer, the Central Texas climate was a significant concern given that the soccer season runs through the summer.
The league was focused on ensuring a comfortable climate for both the players and the fans. Therefore, a massive shade structure would be needed.
Once construction began in January 2020, the race against the clock was on. In order to allow the grass enough time to grow and establish itself, the roof needed to be completed by August.
“We basically build the entire roof, every bolt, every weld in a computer model first,” said Walter P. Moore Principal Engineer Mark Waggoner. “Then we were able to hand that off to the contractors, who were able to emulate that in real life.”
In addition to being designed for shade, and allowing the breeze to blow through, the roof serves one other key function – keeping the stadium loud.
“The metal will really bounce the sounds back down to the fans,” Waggoner said. “I know the fans are going to be super loud out here, and it’s going to be a tough environment for the opponents.”
Outside of the roof, nearly everywhere you look, there’s green.
In addition to the stunning pitch, the seats are green too. All 20,500 of them.
Perhaps the real X-factor is the supporters section, a standing room only end of the field where all the chairs will be zip tied closed, forcing fans to stand.
“This is the heartbeat of the stadium,” Emmett said. “This is where the 4,000 supporters are going to be standing, with drums, banners, flags, and really bringing that energy that’s going to invigorate the entire crowd in this stadium on opening day and throughout the season.”