Kansas City-based 360 Architecture to design two football stadiums in Iraq
The construction of new sporting facilities can bring together communities and kick-start the regeneration an urban realm. Over the past few years, Iraq has begun to explore the introduction of new sports centres across the country, with three major projects now in the hands of American firm 360 Architecture and Anwar Soura General Contracting Company.
The first of these grand schemes is Basrah Sport City which is now fully under construction and due to complete in time to host the 2013 Gulf Cup. Incorporating a 65,000-capacity stadium and 10,000-capacity stadium, the multi-use development is under pressure to meet the deadline for a dramatic unveiling at the prestigious upcoming event.
360 Architecture and Anwar Soura are also partnering on two new football stadia it was announced on Tuesday – a 30,000-seat stadium in Al-Menaa, Basrah and another 30,000-seat stadium in Najaf – costing a total of $169.75m.
The design-build duo has ensured that each concept retains its own individual identity as a direct response to its context. Senior Principal at 360 Architecture, George Heinlein explains: “Though significantly different from each other, the two designs are based on the same philosophy of creating world-class facilities that uniquely fit their function and communities. We believe this approach, combined with the fact that we’ve shown we can work effectively in Iraq, was convincing to the Ministry [of Youth and Sport].”
Due to complete in October 2013, the Al-Menaa stadium takes its design references from the region’s rich nautical history with numerous allusions to water and shipping. Waving sails cascade down the exterior form as structural beams reflect the rigging of a ship at sea. Plans are to tie the stadium to its surroundings with intimate and pedestrian-friendly parks.
In comparison, the Najaf stadium (the completion date of which is currently unspecified) has been inspired by the ornate Imam Ali Mosque nearby with a square exterior and Islamic influenced latticework. Several cooling towers will ensure that visitors to the grounds stay comfortable in the searing heat and are an economical approach to air conditioning.