Herzog & de Meuron's Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

A new soccer stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron in Bordeaux, France hosted its first game on May 23rd (the FC Girondins vs. Monpelier), a year before one of the sport’s most high-stakes tournaments—Euro 2016, the European Championship and qualifier for the 2017 World Cup—is played there.

With 42,000 seats, the 830,000-square-foot stadium is one of the largest in the region, where soccer has a religious following. Drawing on the spiritual hold of the sport, the Basel, Switzerland-based architects created an ethereal, temple-like structure amid a verdant landscape. Supported by hundreds of lithe columns, the pristine building is open and light, approached via an expansive grand stair that echoes the form of the stadium seating above. According to the architects, food stands and restrooms ripple through this forest of columns, brought alive by the movement of the crowd.

Click on the slide show above to view more photos of the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.