People began flocking to these breathtaking, just-completed crystalline stadiums in Shenzen, China earlier this week for the Universiade 2011 Summer Games - the second largest sporting event in the world. Designed by GMP Architekten, the Universiade Sports Center is composed of three matching stadiums set within a landscaped park and enveloped by a new artificial lake. Inspired by the surrounding landscape and featuring a high performance, translucent facade, the complex will be used for a wide range of sporting events this month.
The overall master plan for the complex places the three stadiums as a centerpiece with landscaped elements and a lake surrounding them. GMP Architekten made use of the typical elements of a traditional Chinese garden like rocks, water and landscaping in their design. The watercourses represent movement and development, while the stones and crystalline structures symbolize continuity and stability.
The main stadium is a multifunctional space that can be used for a variety of local, national and international sports occasions and events. With three tiers of seating, the stadium can fit up to 60,000 people inside. An indoor sports complex was designed for ice-skating, mega-performances, social gathering and small-scale exhibition shows and can seat 18,000 spectators. Finally the swimming complex has both a leisure and competition pool and can seat 3,000 spectators.
Crystalline and mountainous in form, the stadiums rise up to 65 meters in height. The steel prismatic shell is composed of a series of triangular facets and three distinct layers. The exterior is a translucent glazing made up of triangular laminated safety glass panes or polycarbonate slabs, the middle layer is structural steel, and the inner layer is translucent but meets requirements for acoustics and shade. These transparent facades infuse the stadiums with light during the day and at night, specialized lighting transforms the facade into a glowing surface illuminating the surrounding landscape as well as the venue inside.
Images ©Christian Gahl