Getting ready to play

Monday 26 Apr 2010

Olympic-sized stadium is the largest planned for construction within the next decade

Like many cities in China, Hangzhou is undergoing rapid urban change. While the city center had historically developed around the West Lake area, opportunities for industry and commerce have shifted the city’s expansion towards the Qian Tang riverfront. New construction has tripled the city’s size in the past decade leaving behind a modern architectural fabric that is powerful in scale, yet still in need of public spaces.

NBBJ, in collaboration and partnership with CCDI, have designed the Hangzhou Sports Park on a 400,000 square-meter site on the Qian Tang riverfront opposite of the city’s new Central Business District. For the design team, this was an opportunity to create welcoming and sustainable public and encompassing a site of approximately 400,000 square meters, the sports park is seen as an opportunity for creating picturesque and sustainable public spaces that not very common in the constructed urbanism of China.

Robert Mankin AIA, LEED AP, principal and sports practice director at NBBJ, said “This is a transformational project that redefines sustainable design excellence in sports facilities throughout Asia. It changes the game, and I applaud the City of Hangzhou for taking this important step.”

Hu Xiaoming, design director of CCDI’s Sports Division, emphasizes the role the sports park has taken within the context of Hangzhou’s urban expansion. “The issue is not about how to sustain a large stadium commercially between games, but is about how a massive stadium can lead a 2 million-square-meter mixed-use commercial program in a green park setting, form a future urban center, and redefine a new lifestyle. Our design provides what is exactly needed to support that agenda.”

The design concept draws from the geometries of the nearby river delta, the flowing forms of the landscape planning as the principal means of organizing the site, defining circulation and concentrating activities. The site is designed to create a continuous pedestrian experience that weaves together sports and commercial programs while forming a clear path of circulation between two planned major transportation hubs on the east and west ends of the site.

The site is composed of three layers of activity: An above-grade platform defines the ‘sports boulevard,’ which links together programs such as the main stadium and tennis tournament facilities. On the ground level, pathways, gardens and plazas form a network of public recreation activities designed for alternative and extreme sports. Sunken spaces and courtyards lead to an extensive below-grade retail facility containing boutique stores, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.

The primary architectural element on the site is the 80,000-seat Main Stadium. The Olympic-sized facility aims to be will be the premier international sports venue for Hangzhou, and is currently the largest stadium planned for construction in China for the next 10 years. The stadium’s exterior shell geometry draws from the flora iconography found on the banks of Hangzhou’s West Lake in order to create a powerful and unique image along the fast-growing Qian Tang riverfront. The stadium bowl program and structure are coordinated with the exterior shell to create a unique concourse and circulation experience. On the north end of the stadium, the seating bowl opens to reveal a view to the Yangtze riverfront, connecting the sporting events to the Hangzhou’s new business district.

The Main Stadium broke ground in December and is slated for completion in 2013.

Jennifer Potash
News Editor

Key Facts:

Sport in architecture

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team