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TDECU Stadium at University of Houston front entrance illuminated at night. Red UH logo over entry
TDECU Stadium

A Football Stadium to Enhance a University

Client

University of Houston

Project Location

Houston, TX

Opening Date

August 2014

Capacity

40,000 seats

TDECU Stadium is designed to enhance a university, elevate the Cougar football program, and provide a modern gameday experience for fans and student-athletes. Built on the site of the old Robertson Stadium with the design partnership of Page, we altered the orientation of TDECU Stadium to better align with adjacent campus buildings and offer clear views of the iconic downtown Houston skyline.

The building exterior is comprised of two separate elements that work together to create a distinct personality for the stadium. The base is formed with a series of rectilinear forms that house conditioning and athletic support spaces. This ground level aligns seamlessly with the overall campus grid and uses familiar materials. Rising above the base is the second thematic element, dubbed the “Cougar Cage,” a permeable, patterned metal wrap that encloses the stadium. This unique facade uses striking red thematic elements within the wrap to convey movement and clear wayfinding cues to direct fans to stadium entrances.

The stadium has initial seating for 40,000. A phased master plan allows for future expansion up to a capacity of 60,000 fans. A stadium club is located only 25 feet above the field of play, placing it as close to the action as any similarly sized stadium in the country. A 5,000-SF home locker room at the southeast corner of the stadium offers club area fans views of the players approaching the field. Seating options are numerous and are placed strategically throughout the venue. The stadium’s south side features twenty-six suites stretching from end zone to end zone, which seamlessly interact with the premium club level lounge below. The east end of the stadium is home to the Bert F. Winston Band and Performance Center with recital halls, classrooms, multi-purpose areas, and ticket office, making TDECU Stadium a true campus amenity.

Program

The stadium has initial seating for 40,000. A phased master plan allows for future expansion up to a capacity of 60,000 fans. Built on the site of the old Robertson Stadium, the orientation of TDECU Stadium better aligns with adjacent campus buildings and offers clear views of the iconic downtown Houston skyline. A series of rectilinear forms the base of the building to house conditioning and athletic support spaces. Rising above the base is the second thematic element, dubbed the “Cougar Cage,” a permeable, patterned metal wrap that encloses the stadium.

01
Context

Fitting on Campus

When the University of Houston determined to build a new football stadium on the site of the existing Robertson Stadium, our design team recognized an opportunity to ensure a better fit with campus by reorienting the entire stadium from its previous incarnation. By doing so, TDECU has very much become a campus building that enhances the grid and pedestrian patterns already found around it.

View of football field from upper deck seating at 50 yard line. Red end zones with Houston Cougars written across them
02
Sightlines

A Stadium with a View

A benefit to reorienting the stadium from its previous alignment was that with the proper architectural design, amazing views of downtown Houston’s iconic skyline from many areas of the stadium would be possible. Our design team elected to selectively place gaps in the upper seating bowls to highlight those views and to ensure there would be no doubt that the Cougars are Houston’s team.

Corner view of a stadium entrance below gap in upper seating bowl. Red and white building extends off to left of entrance
03
Placemaking

The Cougar Cage

Because our design team was given the challenge of creating a full-featured stadium with a relatively limited budget, we had to be creative when designing facades to be impactful. The resulting Cougar Cage is an imaginative use of perforated metal panels that utilizes color to convey movement and wayfinding cues to direct fans to stadium entrances, while also allowing airflow through the concourses.

Closeup of perforated red and white metal panels of sunscreen facade around a gated stadium entrance

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