LAVA, the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, and Designsport collaborated with local Ethiopian firm JDAW to win the international architecture competition for a national stadium and sports village, held by the Federal Sport Commission, Ethiopia. Now, football and athletics-loving Ethiopians will have a new FIFA and Olympic-standard 60,000 seat stadium in Addis Ababa thanks to a design that combines local identity with new technology. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket made from woven grass, inspired the façade material that wraps the stadium. Daniel Assefa also notes: “The form of the stadium structure seen from the top view also recalls coffee beans, the main source of income in Ethiopia and the ‘Mother womb’, the skeleton of one of the first humans, Lucy, which is about 3.2 million years old”. The roof of the stadium, an intelligent membrane, appears like a cloud on the horizon of the vast Ethiopian sky, a lightweight tensile structure floating over the formed-earth landscape.
The masterplan includes the IOC-standard stadium for FIFA matches, athletics events, concerts, religious and national festivals; and a sports village comprising indoor and outdoor aquatic centers, outdoor pitches, sports halls and arenas, dormitories and the headquarters for the Federal Sport Commission. Hospitality, retail and commercial zones will ensure that the precinct is vibrant throughout the year.
Tectonic structures and movement are the underlying concept for the masterplan. The breathtaking beauty of the surrounding Entoto Hills is the backdrop to a design that responds to the volcanic geology of the region. Gently undulating urban parkland follows the lines of the crater and is conceived as a continuous spatial experience strategically activated to balance movement, climate, experience and efficiency. A central plaza forms the heart of the project and a ridge connects all zones.
Giant solar powered umbrellas provide shade and shelter whilst pedestrian activated light and water features appear as fissures in the ground surface, providing way finding and creating animated art works.
Chris Bosse, LAVA director, said: “We have gone back to the very origin of stadium design with a sunken arena surrounded by grandstands formed from excavated material. This man-made crater is a clever remodelling of the existing terrain and generates efficient spaces, optimizes environmental performance, minimizes construction costs and integrates facilities within the existing landscape. ”
Addis architect Daniel Assefa and director of JDAW said: “The design references Ethiopia’s world-famous excavated architecture – centuries-old rock churches, dwellings and cisterns. We see the sports city as a natural extension to this heritage, one that will draw many more visitors to our beautiful country.”
The construction of the stadium is expected to commence in 2014.
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Team: Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck with Jarrod Lamshed, Angelo Ungarelli, Vivienne Ni, Paul Bart, Giulia Conti, Alessandra Moschella, Teresa Goyarrola, Manuel Caicoya, Guido Rivai
SportsDesign (architecture and masterplanning): DesignSport: Samantha Cotterell, Basil Kalaitzis, Irene Roccia
Local Architects and Engineers: JDAW Architects: Daniel Assefa and team
Technical and Cultural Coordination: John Shenton, Architect, Urbanist
Client: The Federal Sports Commission of Ethiopia
Size: 60 Hectares
Program: 60,000 seat stadium; athletics track; aquatic center; residential village; headquarters, Federal Sport Commission; and sports halls and arenas
Status: Competition Winner June 2012