Sports Concert Complex / gmp Architekten + Collaborators

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The challenging task of designing for the Eurovision Song Contest this year was undertaken by combining the efforts of gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner, Alpine Bau Deutschland AG, and Nüssli International AG. Taking place in Azerbaijan’s capital at Crystal Hall, the aim was to create and implement a multipurpose event-venue that is meant to accommodate 25,000 spectators.The characteristic crystalline shape of the building and its illuminated façade is the response to Azerbaijan’s special request for the creation of a widely visible and visually effective landmark as a bridge between Asia and Europe that will be noticed in an international context. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of gmp Architekten

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place every year, which means that this striking crystal-shaped building on the peninsula near the city center, right in the Caspian Sea and in the direct vicinity of one of the world’s highest flagpoles, had to be designed and constructed within a period of just eight months. The building is not a concert hall in the classical sense but a multi-functional indoor arena, which is intended to be a longer-term facility. Normally, event venues of comparable size, such as a football stadium, will require 4 to 5 years for design and construction.

Courtesy of gmp Architekten

Instead of the usual reinforced concrete construction, the building has been designed as a pure steel structure which consists of three independent parts, i.e. the membrane façade, the modular stadium itself and the interior roof. In order to be able to put up a building of the size of a football stadium in just a few months, design and construction proceed in parallel. An important tool in this complex process is the detailed visualization of the entire work schedule: it covers and displays each step in chronological order in weekly sequences. A prerequisite for the success of this novel working method is the extensive experience in design, management and construction scheduling provided by the consortium, as well as very good communication between the design team and the construction companies.


Different dynamic lighting scenarios are currently being programmed for the 9,500 LED lights to highlight the membrane façade and create moods appropriate for the different stages of the events

Architects: gmp Architekten
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Collaborators: Alpine Bau Deutschland AG, Nüssli International AG
Design: Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Markus Pfisterer, 2011
Project Management: Markus Pfisterer, Silke Flaßnöcker
Staff: Martin Hakiel, Carsten Borucki, Monika Kwiatkowski, Ignacio Zarrabeitia, Helge Lezius, Gerard Slee, Lars Laubenthal, Fariborz Rahimi, Justin Allen, Sebastian Lundelius, Dirk Müller
Client: State Commitee on Property Issues, Baku, Azerbaijan
Structural Engineering: SSF Ingenieure München; schlaich bergermann and partners, Stuttgart
Services / Sanitary / Heating / Ventilation: Basler & Hofmann Ingenieure, Zurich
Lighting Design: Lichtvision, Berlin
Seats: 25,000
Design and Construction Period: July 2011 – March 2012
Length of Hall: approx. 206 m
Width of Hall: approx. 168 m
Height of Hall: approx. 25 m

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Sports Concert Complex / gmp Architekten + Collaborators" 01 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>