Meis talks Stadio della Roma

Lead architect of the Stadio della Roma, Dan Meis, gave an interview today regarding Roma’s new home:

The design of the new stadium of Roma is a massive undertaking. What did they ask of you and how were you able to come up with such a project?
“Of course we’re dealing with thousands of years of history with this stadium, in that is has been acquired by an American owner [Jim Pallotta]. That has been a real twist for the league. It’s a history thing. Suddenly there’s an American model of ownership in Italy. Consequently, the team is playing better than they have in years. The charge for us is to create a new, state-of-the-art building that will drive revenue, yet stay grounded in the history of Rome. We did not want to create a Vegas copy of Roman architecture, but offer distinct references. For me, it was obvious that we had to consider the coliseum, which has always been the model for sports architecture, everywhere. Fan response has been great. We’ve attempted to draw upon the urban ideas of the coliseum in a very contemporary and state of the art way. People see the reference, but it is edgy.”

What challenges have you faced?
“Well, we’ve all heard that Rome was not built in a day, the obvious challenge is making sure we are able to overcome the bureaucracy so we can build this stadium in a short amount of “American” time. Since we have presented the project to the public, there has been an immense amount of support. There is so much passion for the team and to have this modern stadium in Italy is an opportunity so I’m optimistic that we can overcome any obstacles. The stadium of Roma is the project of a lifetime.”

There must be a bit of an anthropological or sociological element involved when introducing a stadium to a major urban area. What does that look like for you and your team?
“It starts with a research project. We want to know the relationship of a stadium to the geography of a city, as well as the more social aspects. What is the cultural connection to the building? They’re the cathedrals of the day—an escape; a building type that takes you away. Our base challenge is safety and security. We have to protect fans and protect players from the fans. Beyond that we can to connect with the culture of the fan base. Needless to say, we go to a lot of games.”

How are you inspired today?
“I’m always reminded, every time a new project comes my way, of how important a building will be to the people using it. Rome has been the craziest project, and I’ve had thousands of messages on my Instagram account from fans asking, “Please do this with the building; please do this.” It’s inspiring to know that there are thousands of people so hopeful and excited. I know I’m doing something important.”


The Editor of, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including,, and ESPN.