Local inspiration for Congo masterplan

Thursday 06 Jun 2013

Detailed masterplan and stadium designs released by IAD for 2015 Pan African Games

In preparation for the Pan African Games in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in 2015, architecture practice IAD has released these concept designs for an overarching masterplan and host venues.

The campus includes the provision for a stadium, aquatics centre, sports hall, as well as an athlete’s village and a hotel. IAD chose African traditions and arts & crafts as a main focus, hence the oblong shapes of the buildings, a direct reference to African textiles and fabrics.

IAD's main goal for the proposal was to emphasise this idea of ‘reunion’ between the host country and its neighbors through the metaphorical connections and flows of the master plan. This can be seen in the pathways connecting each building which are traced from lines that connect the centres of each participating country’s capital to the heart of the site.

Another compositional reference was the Congo River whose symbolic values of strength and vitality can also be seen in the meandering pathways that cross the campus and the sweeping roof forms of the main buildings, thereby establishing a true dialogue with the river, the surroundings and the event.


The stadium is an object of soft geometry that integrates the volumes of the bleachers, respectful of the masterplan guidelines and taking into account the circulation guidelines necessary for the functioning of the building. The central field and running track are the elements from which the rest of the building is generated. Spectator stands are defined as a continuous ring along the track and surround the playground in the northern sector. A half ring is added to the complex in order to take advantage of the orientation.

Aquatics Centre

The aquatics centre is divided into two elements by a single pane, creating an interior pool and an open-air venue. This spine creates the spaces required by the program: a covered area hosting the enclosed swimming complex and its symmetrical exterior venue. Each pool has 1,000 spectator seats.   

Sports Hall

The sports hall has been created from the limits defined by the peripheral paths, forming this shield’s shape. The building, like a truncated cone, extends its presence through a set of equidistant strings stretched like a harp that generates a both poetic and useful solar control. Accesses to this in-between, semi-covered space are created in accordance with the main generators of the masterplan.

The Athletes Village

The Athletes Village is arranged in clusters of buildings to create a series of small communities at human scale, softly integrated into the proposed masterplan. Its geometry takes the shape of two peripheral bands which will be located in the programmatic elements of the Athletes Village. In order to reduce the impact of the housings blocks, also to give the module a human scale of a village, the ends of the buildings are kept at the minimum height and rise gradually.


The 120-room hotel is a sculptural volume which is hollowed out in the centre, built around a central atrium and coated in a wooden skin of elegant blades that give the building the aesthetic of ‘a contemporary totem’, keeping in line with the African cultural values integrated into the complete masterplan.

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