A new south stand for Bath Rugby Basil Spence winner 2018

Our annual Basil Spence project is the University of Bath's flagship group design competition for final-year architecture and civil engineering students.

Grimshaw Architects have designed a new 18,000 capacity stadium for Bath Rugby Club at the historic Bath Recreation Ground.

The brief

  • To design the South stand for Bath Rugby Stadium to complement the Grimshaw designs for the other three stands.
  • Aim to allow the design to be occupied for as many days of the year as possible outside of match days.
  • Create a space for all Bathonians, where community and sports meet.
  • Consider sustainability and reduction of energy demands.

The team

Jack, Lucie, Dom, Holly and Rory

Read about the team's personal experiences of the project on our student blog.

The scheme

The team kept Bath rugby fans at the heart of their design: creating a unified bowl with the Grimshaw stands for a better match experience. However, the design implements new uses for the spaces by transforming the site into a wellbeing hub at the heart of Bath. The scheme includes a community sport hall and consultation rooms, as well as a new cycling hub and arrival point for the visitors of Bath.

"Our design ties together the park’s three green areas - the sports park, the historic Parade Gardens, and the cricket pitch. The stadium is currently only open to the public an average of 20 times a year. We believe the stadium has the potential to play a greater role in the community." - Lucie
"We took inspiration from the home of English rugby, Twickenham, as well as more disruptive stadia design such as the Brasilla National Stadium, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, and the Tokyo Olympic Stadium." - Jack
"It was our intention to bring the atmosphere experienced within the bowl to the other aspects of the building, giving attention to the experience on the concourse and approaching the stadium." - Dom


The open concourse flows into the landscape seamlessly, allowing step-free access from North Parade for rugby supporters, while the community activities take place in the lower levels of the stadium, within the landscape.

A cross section of the south stand

The concourse space in the scheme is a generous eight metre deep circulation zone that wraps around the stadium. This space is populated by small bars and food kiosks, with a larger bar at the centre of the stand.


The design has a limited material pallet to create a visual and textural consistency throughout the spaces. The lower floors have a concrete structure, allowing the spaces to flood. The upper structure is entirely made of timber, using a combination of systems. The vertical elements are glulaminated timber columns, while walls, floors and ceiling are dowel laminated panels. This structure allows for efficiency of buildings, as well as a lower carbon impact by the reduction of glue products and the use of local materials.

The roof

The roof was designed to be an iconic feature of the building. Inspired by both the structural integrity and intricate beauty of Bath Abbey's fan vaulted ceiling.

The roof takes the form of a truss structure


The stand’s boxes are designed with flexibility so they can change purpose to consultation rooms when there’s no match playing. The team proposed there could be a partnership between the companies which rent the boxes and mental health charities.

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