The UAE is a region that seems to believe its biggest architectural nemesis is UAE itself. Always on the grind to sidestep its creations, the UAE is constantly looking to build infrastructure that will engage more people from around the world and boost its tourism industry. Lately, the country has been working towards providing world-class facilities and infrastructure in sports – to further enhance its ability to host international events.
Here are some interesting stadiums in the UAE-
1. Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi | Stadiums in UAE
By: Pattern Design Limited
Year of Completion: 2014
Capacity: 25,000 seats
Budget: $39.4m (AED145m)
The stadium introduces a new approach to sports architecture in the Gulf region by embedding the identity of date palm plantations into the very fabric of the design.
The architects used the latest parametric technology to create an outer facade that reflects the rotating fractal geometry of the date palm fronds.
This “Palm Bole” facade also acts as a passive cooling device, creating comfortable spectator conditions and aiding grass growth for the pitch.
The roof for the stadium is the first attempt, in the region, to design a roof specifically for solar protection. Pattern Architects took inspiration from the Arabic headdress and created a parasol roof that shades the pitch and the spectators during a match.
By: Perkins + Will
Year of Completion: Not complete, announcement in 2016
Capacity: 60,000 seats
Budget: $816.7m (AED3bn)
In May 2016, it was announced that the Mohammed bin Rashid Stadium, which complies with FIFA’s standards, features a training hall, a 5,000-space car park, a sports museum, and conference halls, would be developed in Dubai’s Al Aweer locality.
The stadium’s design not only caters to the requirements but also tackles the challenge of keeping the giant stadium cool. The half-bowl-shaped; elevated structure features permeable skin allowing for natural ventilation while simultaneously deflecting unwanted sand and solar gain.
The stadium’s entry plaza will also host several water features, which will double as thermal sinks – acting as a reservoir of cool air for the interiors of the stadium.
3. Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi | Stadiums in UAE
By: Jörn-Peter Schmidt-Thomsen and Conrad Roland
Year of Completion: Opened in 1979, Renovated in 2009
Capacity: 45,000 seats
Budget: $149.7m (AED550m) (at the time of opening)
Zayed Sports City Stadium is a traditional, open-air multi-purpose stadium located in Zayed Sports City. The largest stadium in the UAE; has an iconic status and was featured on the AED 200 banknote.
The Stadium is defined on its exterior by iconic arches. Within the stadium is a full-size football pitch and a wide concrete jacket surrounds it.
The stadium had its first comprehensive redevelopment in 2009, and its capacity was reduced from 60,000 spectators. Development work continued in 2015 when it was turned into an architectural masterpiece.
4. Al-Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi | Abu Dhabi Stadium
By: Idroesse Infrastructure Middle East (Renovation)
Year of Completion: Opened in 1995, Renovated in 2006 &2018
Capacity: 15,000 seats
Budget: $19.5m (AED72.5m) (Renovation costs, 2018)
The stadium was built for the local Al-Wahda club. As the role of club president was given to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan back in 1974 and to this day Al-Wahda is ruled by the Al-Nahyan family, the ground bears their name with images of the most important people decorating one of the stands.
In 2003 it was host to the World Cup Youth Championship and in 2006 renovations were made. The stadium was also renovated in 2018 for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Renovations in 2018 included a completely new design for the stadium facades including new spectators & fans plaza, new upgraded spectator’s entrances including food & beverage kiosks, prayer room, and washrooms (total 6 entrances), and additional seating.
5. Khalifa Bin Zayed International Stadium, Abu Dubai | Abu Dhabi Stadium
By: Various Companies and Contractors in the UAE
Year of Completion: Opened in 1971, Renovated in 2002 & 2018
Capacity: 16,000 seats
The stadium was built near the same area where Football was played in Al Ain between locals, ex-pats, and British soldiers. Since its inauguration, it has hosted many regional and international tournaments.
In 2002, the stadium underwent a series of renovations, resulting in an all-new, state-of-the-art architectural design that has become a landmark of modern sports development in the UAE. The stadium comprises a main lounge, ballrooms, office space, changing rooms, clinic, and physical therapy unit.
6. Dubai International Stadium | Cricket Stadiums in UAE
By: Canadian architect, Awsam Matloob.
Year of Completion: Opened in 2009
Capacity: 25,000 seats, but is expandable to 30,000
Dubai Sports City is a hub of facilities and locations for holding various sports tournaments and other events. The Dubai Cricket Stadium is the diamond of Dubai Sports City’s crown. It is considered one of the largest and most spectacular cricket stadiums in Dubai.
The stadium is lit by a special system of floodlights named “Ring of Fire”. The 350 floodlights are fixed around the circumference of its round roof. This not only minimizes the shadows of objects in the ground but also assists in making the stadium light towers free.
7. Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi | Cricket Stadiums in UAE
By: Godwin Austen Johnson Architects
Year of Completion: 2004
Capacity: 20,000 seats
Budget: $23m (AED85m)
The most striking feature of the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium is the cantilever spanning 125m that soars 65m above the cricket ground. It is the largest soft crop cantilever in the Middle East.
The stadium also includes conference facilities, VIP stadium boxes, and players’ facilities that are of international standard. Stadium lighting has been designed to make both – day and night – match possible. Other facilities include a bespoke broadcasting facility to provide coverage for international events.
8. Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
By: OBE Architects (Renovation)
Year of Completion: Opened in 1981, Renovated in 1995, and 2017-2018
Capacity: 15,000 seats
Budget: $21.8m (AED80m) (Renovation costs, 2018)
Post-renovation – only the main grandstand is left of the old Al-Maktoum Stadium, which is evident by the slightly asymmetric shape of the stand. All other sections were demolished and rebuilt in a true ‘rectangular’ layout.
The length of the stadium was reduced by 25 meters, while capacity grew.
The auditorium and all other sections of the stadium are sheltered behind a tall façade – hence, floodlight masts were no longer needed. A nearly independent steel structure of 4,200 tons was designed to achieve this.
Both the roof and facades are covered by a lightweight PTFE membrane. A very narrow strip of the inner roof has 30% light transmission, the rest of the roof is nearly opaque while the facades have 20%. The facade is created with an interesting pattern with perforations and improving natural ventilation.
9. The Stevens Stadium, Dubai
Year of Completion: Opened in 2008
Capacity: 44,000 seats (temporary)
The Sevens is a purpose-built rugby sevens stadium. The stadium is a venue for rugby, soccer, Gaelic football, Australian football (Aussie rules), netball, basketball, cricket, tennis, track and field, and concerts.
All courts and pitches are floodlit.
Some of the other stadiums in the UAE are –Sharjah Football Stadium, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Dubai Tennis Stadium, and Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.