On April 16, a ground-breaking ceremony was held in the city of Guangzhou, China, for what is to be the world’s largest soccer stadium. The most controversial aspect of the project was not its $1.7 billion price tag, but its bold lotus shape causing a backlash from the local architectural community but praise from the general public.
The soccer stadium is built for one of the Chinese Football Association’s Super League teams, Guangzhou Evergrande, named after the Evergrande real estate group. As the stadium will include 100,000 seats and 162 VIP boxes, it will break the capacity record of Camp Nou stadium in Spain, home to FC Barcelona.
Inspired by the shape of a lotus flower representing Guangzhou as the 'Flower City', the concept of the stadium was proposed by Evergrande Group's president, Jiayin Xu, while the design was conducted by Gensler's Design Principle Hasan A. Syed. Chinese architects far and wide heavily criticized the work as another figurative landmark representing the outdated taste of high profile clients, while the public sang praise for its straightforward representation of Chinese culture.
The construction is planned to complete by the end of 2022, with an intention to host events for the 2023 Asian Cup.