Ethiopia's captial prepares for construction of a new national stadium and sports village
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
August 14 - A consortium led by Australian firm DESIGNSPORT has won a competition to design a new national stadium and sports village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The new stadium will seat 60,000 spectators and will meet both FIFA and Olympic standards, and is shaped like a coffee bean – representing Ethiopia's main source of income.
DESIGNSPORT won the competition in conjunction with the Australian Laboratory for Visionary Architecture and local Ethiopian artists JDAW.
The new stadium and village will be the largest sports infrastructure project carried out in Ethiopia.
The current national stadium in Addis Ababa can hold 35,000 spectators.
There will be an athletics track, aquatics centre, residential village, sports halls, arenas, retail and commercial zones and the headquarters of the Federal Sport Commission.
The winning design includes a reference to the "mother womb", a skeleton of one of the first humans, called Lucy, which is 3.2 million years old.
The façade material wrapped around the stadium is inspired and modelled on the Massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket.
Samantha Cotterell, chief executive of DESIGNSPORT, said: "The brief was to design a centre that would revitalise sport in Ethiopia.
"The result is a sports venue which can be used by all.
"It is for community use at a grass roots level right through to providing a high performance training centre for elite athletes and a location for major international sporting events.
"We only had one month in which to turn around the brief and worked flat out to meet the deadline.
"We incorporated local materials and referenced Ethiopian landscape and culture, which was helped by all three companies having architects with Ethiopian connections."
LAVA director Chris Bosse, who led the design team, added: "We have gone back to the very origin of stadium design with a sunken arena surrounded by grandstands formed from excavated material.
"The man-made crater is a clever remodelling of the existing terrain, integrating facilities within the landscape.
"It is an efficient use of space which optimises the site's environmental performance while minimising construction costs."
Construction on the stadium and sports complex will begin in 2014.
Bosse was a key designer who worked on the Watercube Aquatics Centre at Beijing 2008, and the companies involved in the project have vast experience in building infrastructure for major sports events, including the 2004 Athens Games and the Qatar World Cup in 2022.