Dalian Shide stadium / NBBJ


NBBJ‘s proposed design for the new Dalian Shide football stadium in represents a new direction in sports architecture by moving away from the creation of a building based on pure form. The organic architecture of the building challenges the typical stadium typology to become more than an impressive skin wrapped around an ordinary seating bowl.

More images and full architect’s description after the break.

Designed to emulate a garden, ’s Garden Stadium has only what is needed to thrive, and those functions are clearly organized and expressed. This simple effectiveness in design leads to a dramatically improved fan experience as well as greater ease of operations. In addition, the building’s carbon footprint is minimized, making Garden Stadium a part of a larger sustainable community.


The reclaimed site captures a new place in the city, with spectacular views across the ocean and out to the mountains and center city. Growing from this new coastal park, the design proposes that the land is folded open to create two garden walls, which support the venue, inserting the bowl between them. The walls become iconic elements, creating a strong and visually striking support system while leaving the ends open to connect the event inside to its urban context on the outside. The roof is a flexible system of cables and fabric to protect the fans from the elements, beautiful and unique, fluttering overhead.


This concept was developed as a response to recent stadia design trends, which focus on powerful exterior designs, but have not yet improved upon the interior bowl experience. Even in the highly publicized stadiums recently built in China, the typical approach to the bowl has not yet evolved to influence the exterior design. The proposed design for the Garden Stadium transforms this traditional approach by dramatically opening the seating bowl to the city of Dalian. This openness not only creates a more integrated experience for those seated in the bowl and walking on the concourses, but it also allows a connection to the site and city surrounding the stadium, allowing the local community to be a part of the event.


The garden walls contain all of the vital systems of the building: the structure for the roof, the VIP suites, the toilets and concessions stands, the mechanical spaces, and the ticket booths. The main concourse is continuously open to the field–unlike most stadiums where concourses are separate spaces with few views into the bowl-and this new openness retains a spectator’s constant connection with the action. The walls are clad, facing outwards in living plants that change color and character depending on the four seasons-adding carbon-reducing plants where one would normally find an expanse of concrete and steel. The wall is clad on the inside, facing the concourse with giant LED panels, powered by on-site renewable energy, which changes instantly, compared to the outer wall which changes only naturally.


This stadium has the capacity to ultimately become a global icon for sustainable design by reducing energy consumption, improving energy efficiency, contributing to clean air, and developing a sustainable community. Utilizing these sustainable concepts as core design principals, the Garden Stadium performs as an environmentally responsible design and creates a unique iconic image for the site and for the city of Dalian.

Sustainable Elements:

GREEN WALLS: Provide building insulation, reduces energy use, reduces heat island effect, filters air pollution, reduces green house gases, softens the typical hard edge of a stadium.
WATER REUSE: A holistic water recycling system can dramatically reduce water waste and can be used for irrigation, fire fighting, toilet flushing, and air conditioning.
RENEWABLE POWER: Create energy sources on the site by integrating wind turbines and solar cells into the building walls, roof and site.
POROUS SITE PAVING: Large site application to slow the rate of water run-off and reduce the impact on storm water drains.
EFFICIENCY: Improve overall building insulation and airtightness.
PRE-FABRICATION: Factory pre-fabricate as many building components as possible. The factory could be temporarily created on site.




new stadium section

site section concept

folding land concept

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Dalian Shide stadium / NBBJ" 15 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=35207>
  • http://www.vitsee.wordpress.com Vitsee

    WOW that is amazing!… but the balls gonna end up in the sea at somepoint.

  • mankichi


  • Fran

    The same family than Souto de Mura’s Braga stadium but in a more contemporean way. Furthermore this one is not splited in two like in Braga so it doesn’t break the unity of the spectators.
    Many good ideas but the formal langage is kind of odd.

  • Kees Haars

    Wow! Is this a commission? Or did they win a competition or something?

  • Tom W

    How does the roof “protect the fans from the elements”? It looks great, but doesn’t seem like it will shelter the crowd from rain. Or is it just providing shade?

  • Jinx

    Great concept to interact with the city, the experience inside and the low carbon emission.
    But slicing up the land is getting very old, I think is see these land slicing concepts at least twice a month. Although this is on a whole different scale. I think hooligans will destroy the bottom layers of green, or don’t they exist in China?

    The semi-interiors and even more so the roof look very interesting, but also very vague in these renders.

  • Orky

    Hmm… The description seems to have a lot of fluff to it. The sustainable features list are good ideas but how are they rigorously applied to this building? Where is the performance analysis?

    Also, how does that roof piece “become more than an “impressive skin” wrapped around an ordinary seating bowl”?…what is the function? It certainly won’t protect against rain… It seems like a very idiosyncratic design move that will cast a lot of strange shadows onto the playing field.

    There are some interesting ideas about bowl/concourse design… but overall the design seems strange and incoherent…

    Too many parts not enough rigor…

    • YOURMOM’slover

      Orky says: “let me be a hater and say the typical things that makes me look critical —but really nitpick at little things that already solved and just not shown…”"and I say incoherent cause my male organ is incoherent”

      • Orky

        You win. You are truly the superior critic.

        Since you seem to know just how well resolved the design is, perhaps you can do the readers a favor and allow Arch Daily to post some details on the “solved but not shown” magic roof piece.

        While you are at it, please show how the sustainable elements are integrated into the design. The text mentions solar panels and wind turbines… where are they and why aren’t they depicted? How much energy will they really generate for the site?

        I’m not nitpicking. These are huge loose ends to what seem to be important design features as outlined in the narrative.

    • YOURMOM’slover

      calm down homie…you got this much time to be B******G on Arch DAily???….get some time with your girl or man or whatever, stop letting contemporary architecture and post-critical viewport f-u in the A….i just made that comment to mess with you and all the typical angry 30 somethings here on Arch Daily….say what you want on this site….but CHILL—

      • MT Durban

        pot calling the kettle black

      • CW

        You sound really smart…you should talk on here more often.

      • Y

        @Orky …

        Nice comments, i agree with your analysis. Thanks for do it and to improve the level of the discussion at archdaily.

        Let’s just to ignore the mindless kids and focus on what matters here: Good Architecture and Bad Architecture.

  • http://yorik.orgfree.com Yorik

    I think that “layer” of “stuff” that forms the roof is extremely interesting… It is not really a roof anymore, but it provides *some* of the functions of a roof… And open at both sides, like a loaf of bread, very cool concepts, well done!

  • English0019

    That’s thinking outside the box. Well thought out design I love it!

  • Alexandre Collaço

    Very beautiful images, the openness of the stadium seems to be a good idea people from outside can catch the vitality and vibration of the inside, and the sea view is nice too.
    About the sustainable features, looks like a cake recipe. And I agree about this roof, no protection at all and odd shadows.

    Interesting and different stadium typology.

  • Just the Facts

    The seating bowl is very reminiscent of Piano’s stadium in Bari.

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  • Jason

    Fantastic presentation material. Great stadium design. Looks like a fun place to watch a game.

  • cad

    One hellafresh stadium.

  • aufi alwi

    wow amazing rendering…..could be done by what software i imagine

  • kc

    looks like a place for thousands of people to hang dry their laundry

    • archit student

      this is the funniest criticism LOL
      and so true!!!

  • Lasse Lyhne

    In 2007 a diploma student in Aarhus School of Architecture did a project that was a much better reaction to the only introvert and unsituated stadions..

    This is cool too though.. I like the impact of the slicing concept, and if it is possible with bridges it should be possible with architecture…

  • titi

    nice images and concepts, but I wonder how it could look like once built…

  • Dustin

    I am wondering if you actually wont see the bridge going over the ocean instead of the ocean? I think lots of this project is good image trickery. It is a great concept though, we have seen stadiums with great views though so that is not new but overall great ideas.

  • bill

    Very beautiful project.
    I like the concept too of integrating with the city – something China needs between their estranged architecture and its people.

  • al gaddor

    :P i don’t understand but i think the guy who project this doesn’t understand the game,, it’s about the spectator too but,,,the game!!!! the game!!!!
    when your team lost the game you’ll can cry looking the sunset… too poetic for diehard fans :)
    i’m tired about this cheerleader-type of stadiums :D

    • http://map-lab.com Dan

      agreed! give me Stamford Bridge any day over this!

  • s.e.r.g.i.o.

    soto da moura + piercing??.

  • Tee

    This is the ultimate answer to all the boring round stadium we were complaning about!
    Well done!

    • Rionz

      Agree, we have seen many round stadiums with awesome skins, so many, that turns more in esculptures rather than great buildings, this master project is beyond that, just to cool XD, i could die of hapiness if I play there a match. XD

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  • sozcelykk


  • helen

    i dont think its that impressive other than having a portion of the stadium cut out and seats separated from the skin. also, why would there be access from the beach area if it would almost definitely be blocked off anyway? then it wouldnt quite be opened would it? seems like a fancy way to add a wall to some bleachers. and i can also defintiely foresee the sculptural roofing a lighting issue both for spectators and the players. wat about grass growth? it IS a football stadium for a football team…

    for some reason the section feels MORE constrained than the traditional bowl.

  • Tarek sakkal


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  • ov

    SOM did a roofscape back in the early 2000′s for Changi International airport. It was just recently completed in 2007. This project reminds me of their solution.

    • José

      hehehe, nice one. I love to see how ideas evolve ( are copied and transformed, a bit ). But anyway you can always spot similarities between projects, I haven’t seem until today an absolute creation, a project where you can’t find copied things.

    • as

      ya, SOM won a PA award for that roof many years ago… pre-internet mass media…back when you had to buy magazines… hehe

  • CJ

    This is just beautiful, it’s taking stadiums architecture to another level, (not saying it’s the right one or anything) but I like what I’m seeing.