Thursday, April 6, 2023

5 iconic stadiums that redefine ‘larger than life’ architecture

There was a time when sports stadiums were rated solely on the basis of capacity; basically, how many spectators it could hold at any given time. Gigantic concrete monstrosities with very little architectural value, bare minimum facilities, and certainly not a place designed for spectator comfort! However, the increasing popularity of sports and the commercialisation that followed, led to a complete transformation of stadium architecture, with the design now focussed on delivering a complete sporting experience to every stakeholder, from venue owners, organisers and sponsors to sportspersons and spectators.

Sports architecture is no more just about size, compliance and standardisation; it’s also about striking looks, advanced engineering skills, materiality, sustainability, spectator, player and media facilities, user experience, comfort, technology, hospitality, and very importantly, adaptability – to host a diverse range of activities and events throughout the year, no matter the weather, allowing venue owners multiple opportunities to monetise the commercial potential.

While many sporting venues are built for specific events such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup for instance, the master planning is focussed on delivering legacy value, ensuring the facility has purpose long after the event is over. Stadiums today are designed as mixed use integrated facilities delivering sporting, leisure, lifestyle, recreational and entertainment experiences, but they are also required to be built to international regulations and benchmarks.

Standardisation of requirements makes sports architecture “a bit generic”, observes Hamish Lyon, Director of Architecture and Design at NH Architecture, which served as both master planners and architects for the Melbourne & Olympic Parks precinct development. However, by adding local context to the design, architects are ensuring a sense of belonging and emotional connection, allowing these venues to become an integral part of the community.

With architects pushing the boundaries of stadium design, here are 5 venues that are making a larger-than-life impact on global sports architecture.

The centrepiece venue for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Lusail Stadium combines a futuristic design with elements of Qatar’s cultural heritage. Conceptualised by Foster + Partners, this spectacular arena – Qatar’s biggest stadium – is part of the larger urban vision for Lusail City, an upcoming state-of-the-art metropolis near Doha.

4th  Edition of International Design Research Awards

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