LAVA just won an international architecture competition to design a new national football stadium and sports village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Football (soccer) has long been a favorite pastime in Africa, and now the sport’s fans in Ethiopia will enjoy matches in this planned FIFA World Cup and Olympic-standard 60,000 seat stadium and sports village. In addition to offering a state-of-the-art pitch for Ethiopia’s national team, the new stadium is also a tribute to Ethiopia’s rich culture and stunning landscape.
According to Chris Bosse, a director at LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), the future Addis Ababa stadium’s design returns to the methods by which older sports arenas were originally constructed. The pitch will be located below ground level, and the grandstands surrounding the field will be formed from the excavated material. The result is a crater-like formation that celebrates Ethiopia’s volcanic landscape. Like the many churches and villages that were built into the country’s rugged terrain, the football stadium promises to blend with the existing surroundings, optimizes environmental performance, saves on construction costs and maximizes the use of available space.
The stadium’s facade also pays homage to traditional Ethiopian crafts. The material wrapping the stadium will be modeled on the massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket woven out of grass. The pattern on the facade will resemble coffee beans, which trace their origins to Ethiopia and have long been the main source of income for many of the country’s people. The roof of the stadium will be an intelligent membrane that will help keep spectators below cool.
LAVA claims that most of the stadium and surrounding village’s building materials will be sourced locally. Plenty of open space will link various athletic facilities, and a retail complex will guarantee that the sports village will be a destination, not a white elephant that is typical of many sporting facilities. Construction will begin in 2014.
Photos courtesy LAVA