Opus Arena stands as the first new stadium to grace the Croatian landscape in half a century, marking a significant milestone. Situated in the north-west part of the city of Osijek, it heralds the beginning of a wave of development, including a public school and other sports facilities set to follow suit. To accommodate the influx of visitors on game nights and to provide a vibrant urban space during non-event times, the stadium’s surroundings were meticulously designed with dual objectives.

The primary aim was to facilitate the seamless entry and exit of thousands of spectators within a short timeframe on game days. Additionally, the design sought to create leisure areas for the community, fostering social interaction and connection. With this vision in mind, a large square was conceived, encircled by smaller, more intimate green spaces. Utilizing innovative building techniques, the stadium was situated on an artificial platform seamlessly integrated with the natural terrain, accentuated by three imposing steps that lend it a grand, almost “temple of sport” ambiance.

Moreover, the positioning of stairs serves a dual purpose, delineating areas with varying levels of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Access to the stadium along the picturesque Drava River encourages sustainable transportation, with provisions made for bicycle access by a river promenade. Urban furniture, chosen for its durability and playful aesthetic, invites both children and adults to interact, effectively transforming the space into a dynamic playground.

The paving, featuring various shades of grey, adds visual interest and complexity at ground level. Greenery selection was inspired by the principles of the “New Perennialist Movement,” prioritizing low-maintenance ornamental grasses and pollinator-friendly flowering perennials. Trees are strategically categorized: square trees, accented with bursts of color from Cercus, adorn the central areas, while parking trees, planted in alleys with diverse species, aid in orientation. Along the edges, buffer trees contribute to a vibrant palette of colors and textures throughout the year, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the landscape.

Location:
Ul. Josipa Jurja Strossmayera 126b, 31000, Osijek, Croatia
Design year: 2018.
Year Completed: 2023.

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