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Bamboo Forest: Bao‘An Stadion in Shenzhen

In 2011 the Universiade, one of the largest sports events in the world was held in Shenzhen, China. The stadium (actually in the Bao’an district) was designed as an athletics stadium holding 40,000 spectators. However, during the 2011 Universiade, it was used for football matches.

Architects: gmp and South China University of Technology
Location: Yu’an Xi Road, 518133 Shenzhen, China

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

The extensive bamboo forests of southern China were the inspiration for the design. The bamboo look serves two purposes. It reflects the character of the region, and thus creates identity. And it serves as a structural concept for both the load-bearing frame of the stadium stands and the supports for the widespan roof structure. The outermost part of the stadium unites the façade, structure and overarching architectural theme in a single feature. The natural look of the bamboo forest, together with the interplay of light and shadow between the trunks, is interpreted structurally with rows of slender steel supports, as outsize, abstract versions of the bamboo shape.

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

The stadium is located in the immediate vicinity of a sports arena and swimming pool, which have already established an east-west axis. The stadium and the attached warm-up area fall in with this existing urban axis. The choice of a pure circle for the geometry of the stadium was a decision not to introduce any other geographical orientation into the urban-planning situation, and to emphasize the central character of the sports venue. Appropriately for the uses of the building, the stadium stands on a grassed plinth, which incorporates on the inside the lower tiers of seating and internal functional areas.

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Project data

Client/Operator: Sports Bureau of Bao’an District

Size of site: 123,565 m²
Activity/Competition area: 18,866 m²
Spectator facilities: 40,500
Start of construction: 1/2009
Commissioning: 1/2011
Construction costs: Euro 60 million
Operating costs in 2012: Euro 1.25 million
Number of athletes/users in 2012: 28,600
Number of spectators in 2012: 113,700

The stadium won a gold medal at the IOC/IAKS Awards 2013.

Foto: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

Bao‘An Stadium, Shenzhen, China, gmp and South China University of Technology

Photograph: Christian Gahl

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