Guangzhou Stadium- “A world-class new landmark comparable to the Sydney Opera House and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and an important symbol of Chinese football to the world.”

The upcoming Gensler structure, designed by the architect Hasan A. Syed, the Guangzhou Football stadium, set to come up in China is expected to raise the bars of standards of the local sports industry by turning out to be one of the most iconic sports landmarks of the world. The Guangzhou Evergrande soccer stadium is named after the Evergrande real estate business and is home to one of the Chinese Football Association’s Super League teams, functioning as a mega-sports centre for the pearl river delta. It is anticipated that the structure will be complete and ready to host the game events for the 2023 Asian Cup, by the end of the year 2022.

Guangzhou Football Stadium by Gensler: Iconic Landmark for Guangzhou’s Sports Industry - Sheet1
Guangzhou Stadium_©www.gensler.comprojectsevergrande-guangzhou-football-stadium

Concept

Though the project was highly ambitious, it underwent heavy criticism from Chinese architects, who considered it to be another symbolic embodiment of the obsolete taste of high-profile clients, while on the other hand, it was appreciated and loved by the public for the way it portrayed Chinese culture. It relates not just to Cui Gai’s “high-clean” beauty but is also in full integration with Chinese traditional culture.

The outstanding feature of the project is its iconic geometric roof which takes inspiration from a lotus flower, symbolising unity, honour, and tenacity. However, this concept could be conceived in different ways, such as the angular form of the roof corresponding to a diamond, showcasing the Panyu district, which houses this stadium, as a global jewellery industry and the lotus form of the structure respecting Guangzhou as the ‘City of Flowers’. Having its roots from a lotus flower, the structure now only slightly resembles what is called the ‘lotus crown’ as per recent reports. 

Guangzhou Football Stadium by Gensler: Iconic Landmark for Guangzhou’s Sports Industry - Sheet2
Transformation of the project throughout the design phase – Left image _©www.worldarchitecture.org; Right image_©www.tfcstadiums.comfuture-gua

Structure

With all the efforts being made to alleviate the standards of the Chinese football facilities in bringing it to light at a global level, the only way to do so was to evidently enhance its sports infrastructure. The Guangzhou stadium not only is known for its striking appearance but also has a well-designed structural system in place, worthy of being acknowledged.

For better understanding, the structure of the stadium can be split into two parts, namely the roof and the bowl structure: the bowl being the structure supporting the spectator seating. Both of these structures are designed to be independent of each other, allowing for additional freedom and flexibility during the design and construction phases of the project. Further, the roof structure is capable of withstanding thermal movements without causing substantial stresses, enabling members to be of smaller sizes which would consequently result in the reduction of construction cost. The metallic, polyhedral form of the structure is also intended to evoke futuristic and high-tech connotations.

Perforated aluminium, which would ensure a good amount of ventilation, translucent ETFE, which would bring in abundant daylight and photovoltaic glass, which would generate clean energy, are significant materials being used to embellish the stadium. However, one of the key challenges during the design phase was not to deviate from the initial and unique architectural design of having an angular dome structure with an oval opening in the middle. It is also interesting to note that this diamond structure also helps in the collection of rainwater for the internal use of the stadium. This entire process, as a result, gave rise to a space-frame system with rings and radial ribs forming a continuous envelope from the ground to the centre. The massive structure is expected to rise to a height of about 86 metres consisting of seven floors above the ground level and two floors underground.

Guangzhou Football Stadium by Gensler: Iconic Landmark for Guangzhou’s Sports Industry - Sheet3
Aerial view of the stadium site_©www.gensler.comprojectsevergrande-guangzhou-football-stadium

Functions

The stadium is envisioned to host 100,000 spectators, which breaks the record of the Camp Nou stadium of Spain, which has a seating capacity of only 99,354. This came with the challenge of providing easy accessibility and adequate parking facilities for the people. The stadium is strategically located adjacent to the south railway station, solving the issue of accessibility, inviting fans from countrywide. With efficient site planning and design, it was possible to provide parking spaces for an approximate number of 4850 cars and 2500 bicycles, both beneath and around the arena. In addition to this, the structure also plans on having VVIP private rooms, 152 VIP private rooms, a media area, a FIFA area, and a press room based on the FIFA standard professional football field.

Spreading across a total area of 150,000 square metres and a built-up area which is expected to reach around 300,000 square metres, it is believed to present itself as a hub for entertainment and sports, hosting amenities catering to business, leisure and sports and a large shopping mall, rather than just being a mere football stadium.

Though the construction of the stadium was halted in the month of August 2021, it is a venue eagerly awaited by the locals and fans to come to reality to experience its incredible architecture. 

Guangzhou Football Stadium by Gensler: Iconic Landmark for Guangzhou’s Sports Industry - Sheet4
Guangzhou Stadium under construction_©www.reuters.combusinesschina-evergrandes-construction-guangzhou-soccer-stadium-proceeding-planned-2021-09-27

References:

  1. Gensler. n.d. Evergrande Guangzhou Football Stadium | Projects | Gensler. [online] Available at: <https://www.gensler.com/projects/evergrande-guangzhou-football-stadium> [Accessed 26 March 2022].
  2. Construction Review Online. 2021. Guangzhou Evergrande Stadium project timeline and all you need to know. [online] Available at: <https://constructionreviewonline.com/biggest-projects/guangzhou-evergrande-stadium-project-timeline-and-all-you-need-to-know/> [Accessed 26 March 2022].
  3. Thorntontomasetti.com. n.d. Evergrande Guangzhou Football Stadium. [online] Available at: <https://www.thorntontomasetti.com/project/evergrande-guangzhou-football-stadium> [Accessed 26 March 2022].
  4. Coliseum. 2020. No lotus design for China football facility – Coliseum. [online] Available at: <https://www.coliseum-online.com/no-lotus-design-for-china-football-facility/> [Accessed 26 March 2022].
  5. World Architecture Community. 2020. Construction work begins on Lotus Flower Stadium in Guangzhou, China. [online] Available at: <https://worldarchitecture.org/article-links/efpzh/construction-work-begins-on-lotus-flower-stadium-in-guangzhou-china.html> [Accessed 27 March 2022].
  6. reuters.com. 2021. China Evergrande says stadium construction proceeding as planned. [online] Available at: <https://www.reuters.com/business/china-evergrandes-construction-guangzhou-soccer-stadium-proceeding-planned-2021-09-27/> [Accessed 27 March 2022].
Author

An architecture student who believes that any space can be turned into a lively environment only when it caters to its user’s needs and is extremely passionate about walking the cities on its journey in becoming sustainable and inclusive for its people.

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