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Giant stadium and arena planned for new East Austin District

Complex will be new site of Rodeo Austin, sports, entertainment, and more

Rendering of a stadium with a patchwork of roofs
Planned stadium and arena East Austin District
All renderings courtesy of BIG

Local group Austin Sports & Entertainment is on track to develop a 1.3-million-square-foot sports and entertainment complex at the current location of the Travis County Exposition Center and Austin Rodeo, according to a Thursday announcement by Danish architecture company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which has been tapped to design the project. The design company is known for 2 World Trade Center in Manhattan and Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

A 40,000-square-foot, open-air stadium and an adjacent 15,000-seat arena will anchor the project. The former will host major events, including soccer, rugby, and music festivals; the smaller arena will be home to Rodeo Austin and will host indoor sports and additional music events. Around the perimeter of the area—dubbed the East Austin District—will be multiuse buildings for restaurants, retail, and 28,000 square feet of youth facilities.

The stadium and arena will share 190,000 square feet of support facilities, which, according to BIG, will optimize efficiency and cost.

The facility will also feature eight courtyards separating the enclosed pavilions. While the exterior reads rather space-age, the interiors will reference the local vernacular, which, as interpreted by BIG, means some all-wood interior spaces.

The central complex will have a patchwork of roofs and open spaces inspired by the Jefferson Grid, a plan created by Thomas Jefferson in 1785 to divide newly acquired western land, which CityLab called the “latticework that divvies America’s fields, forests, and towns into perfect square-mile sections.” The roofs will be covered with red photovoltaic panels, making the district energy self-sufficient, according to BIG.

The district is planned to function as a “collective campus rather than a monolithic stadium,” said BIG founding partner Bjarke Ingels, and will unify the “elements of soccer and rodeo into a village of courtyards and canopies.”