Architects Populous are one group proud to be promoting the 2011 Rugby World Cup as it begins in New Zealand — the global firm designed three of the competition’s venues.

The Opening Ceremony and the first match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup kicks off in Auckland tonight, and Populous has pointed out that takes place in the redeveloped Eden Park stadium it designed.

Image courtesy of Populous

The other two stadia are the newly completed Otago Stadium (Forsyth Barr Stadium) in Dunedin, the world’s only stadium with a natural pitch growing under a fully fixed roof which will host four pool matches, and Wellington Regional Stadium (Westpac Stadium) in Wellington, which will host eight matches including two quarter finals.

Otago Stadium, Image Marina Mathews

Eden Park was the venue for the very first Rugby World Cup Final in 1987 and it will also stage the Final this time round.

Populous Senior Principal Richard Breslin who directed the completion of both Eden Park and Otago Stadium said all three stadia are unique to their specific communities.

“Otago Stadium, completed only a month ago, is innovative particularly because of its revolutionary roof made of a specially engineered plastic called ETFE, so sunlight can still reach the pitch, allowing natural grass to grow, while ensuring the fans and players are protected.

“Wellington Stadium has stood the test of time, and become a much loved, well used community icon over the past 11 years.

“And the new Eden Park, New Zealand’s premier stadium has undergone the biggest transformation in its 100 year history. It still retains its historical and cultural significance as the country’s premier stadium, but it is now distinctly 21st century and unmistakably Kiwi in appearance.

“All three stadia are innovative, multifunctional and flexible, so they can operate as truly regional sporting and entertainment hubs providing a real legacy for their communities.”