The decision saw NBBJ's innovative open-ended design which reinvented stadium design for the sustainable era, knocked out of the competition in favour of a more traditional closed stadium design. But while the chosen design does not flaunt its green credentials openly, sustainability has been at the heart of the design process and a more subtle natural inspiration is present.
“The design of the Dalian Football Stadium is inspired by the classic Chinese football, which was made by layering coloured bamboo," said Ben van Berkel. "For the stadium design we appropriated this effect to generate a double-layered roof structure. This structure operates as a double concourse enclosure, encircling the tribunes. Splits and openings in between broad bands of the lattice structure enable views from the outside in and from the inside out.”
Using the bamboo ball as inspiration, UNstudio's design for the 38,500 sq m stadium weaves together the collective spirit of the spectators with the public realm and the urban context of the building. The main stadium houses spectator seating, TV broadcasting centre, administration areas, VIP lounge, players facilities and public concourse in a layered envelope which extends on ground level to provide outdoor public areas above decked parking facilities. In addition, the design incorporates two training fields on the 144,000 sq m site.
Within the fabric of the design, thermal comfort is optimised to reduce HVAC energy consumption. High-reflectance sustainable material used for the rooftop minimises solar heat gain by reflecting solar radiation and thereby reducing cooling load to HVAC system while the design provides significant spectator shading from excess sunlight. Shading and reflection are used throughout to this effect but strategic tree planting and permeable grasscrete in the surrounding outdoor areas also improve conditions ecologically. Water saving and recycling measures are integrated and the potential to add photovoltaic panels to the structures significant roof space has been considered along with the potential for a solar thermal hot water supply to reduce emissions and a sea water source heat pump to provide cooling during the Summer season and heating during the Winter months, all of which can be integrated as the design develops.