Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) have won a competition to design a sports complex in Ethiopia, which will include an excavated football stadium surrounded by earth stands.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

The architects have collaborated with sports venue specialists Designsport and local Ethiopian studio JDAW to design the 60,000-seat arena for Addis Ababa, as well as an aquatics centre and athletics track.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

The ring of spectator stands surrounding the stadium will be constructed from the reshaped soil, while the exterior will be clad in an array of coloured panels inspired by the woven patterns of traditional local food baskets.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

Construction of the stadium is planned to start in 2014.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

Other sports venues we've featured recently include the octopus-like shooting galleries for the London 2012 Olympic games.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

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Here's more text from LAVA:

New national stadium for football-loving Ethiopians

Football and athletics-loving Ethiopians will have a new FIFA and Olympic-standard 60,000 seat stadium in Addis Ababa thanks to a competition winning design combining local identity with new technology.

LAVA [Laboratory for Visionary Architecture] and Designsport collaborated with local Ethiopian firm JDAW to win the international architecture competition for a national stadium and sports village, held by the Federal Sport Commission, Ethiopia.

Chris Bosse, LAVA director, said: “We have gone back to the very origin of stadium design with a sunken arena surrounded by grandstands formed from excavated material. This man-made crater is a clever remodelling of the existing terrain and generates efficient spaces, optimises environmental performance, minimises construction costs and integrates facilities within the existing landscape.”

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

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Addis architect Daniel Assefa and director of JDAW said: “The design references Ethiopia’s world-famous excavated architecture – centuries-old rock churches, dwellings and cisterns. We see the sports city as a natural extension to this heritage, one that will draw many more visitors to our beautiful country.”

The façade material that wraps the stadium is inspired by the Massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket made from woven grass, whilst the shapes of the facade system appear as coffee beans, the main source of income in Ethiopia. The roof of the stadium, an intelligent membrane, appears like a cloud on the horizon of the vast Ethiopian sky, a lightweight tensile structure floating over the formed-earth landscape.

The masterplan includes the IOC-standard stadium for FIFA matches, athletics events, concerts, religious and national festivals; and a sports village comprising indoor and outdoor aquatic centres, outdoor pitches, sports halls and arenas, dormitories and the headquarters for the Federal Sport Commission. Hospitality, retail and commercial zones will ensure that the precinct is vibrant throughout the year.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

Click above for larger image

Tectonic structures and movement are the underlying concept for the masterplan. The breathtaking beauty of the surrounding Entoto Hills is the backdrop to a design that responds to the volcanic geology of the region. Gently undulating urban parkland follows the lines of the crater and is conceived as a continuous spatial experience strategically activated to balance movement, climate, experience and efficiency. A central plaza forms the heart of the project and a ridge connects all zones.

Giant solar powered umbrellas provide shade and shelter whilst pedestrian activated light and water features appear as fissures in the ground surface, providing way finding and creating animated art works.

Bosse, who was one of the lead architects of the Beijing Watercube whilst at PTW architects, has again combined new technology with traditional architectural principles. The façade patterns are digitally created through parametric modelling and are built with local materials.

Addis Ababa Stadium and Sports Village by LAVA

Click above for larger image

CEO of Designsport Samantha Cotterell said: “We put together our culturally diverse team to produce an innovative concept. We are excited at the prospect of taking our expertise and translating it through the cultural lens of Africa.”

“With sustainable design features, maximum flexibility and capacity, and intelligent adaptability, the new facilities will make a valuable contribution to the local people, the nation and its culture, enhancing Ethiopia’s sporting profile and generating revenue,” added Cultural Consultant and Architect, John Shenton.

The construction of the stadium is expected to commence in 2014.

PROJECT: National Stadium and Sports Village
CLIENT: The Federal Sports Commission of Ethiopia
LOCATION: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
SIZE: 60 Hectares
PROGRAM: 60,000 seat stadium; athletics track; aquatic centre; residential village; headquarters, Federal Sport Commission; and sports halls and arenas.

Laboratory for Visionary Architecture [LAVA]: Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck; with Jarrod Lamshed, Angelo Ungarelli, Vivienne Ni, Paul Bart, Giulia Conti, Alessandra Moschella, Teresa Goyarrola, Manuel Caicoya, Guido Rivai.
SPORTSDESIGN (architecture and masterplanning):
DESIGNSPORT: Samantha Cotterell, Basil Kalaitzis, Irene Roccia.
JDAW Architects: Daniel Assefa and team TECHNICAL AND CULTURAL COORDINATION: John Shenton, Architect, Urbanist

  • Chang

    congratulations LAVA! Congrats to Chris, Jarrod, Angelo, Ales, Teresa and Guido! well done.

  • morgs96

    Really great to see these guys getting something built after winning numerous competitions that never got off the ground. Looks beautiful too, love the textural facade. It holds its own very very well against the completed comparisons on this page, some of which are quite ugly IMHO, despite what may be a significantly smaller budget. It's grounded and rational. Congrats!

  • Hans Dampf

    LAboratory for Viciously copying Asymptote, generic design, but smart marketing for connecting it to ethiopian heritage.

  • Fuzz77

    Glad to know Ethiopia finally have managed to break free from poverty and famine to afford to built something like this!

  • Woycester83

    @morgs96. The comment should read: really sad for Ethiopians, because LAVA competitions never got off the ground.

  • That is great news! A very simple solution to a complex problem. Beautiful geometry, strong cultural reference and a great a stadium experience. These guys will get plenty of stuff built.

  • Anon

    Do you really think everyone in that stadium is going to get a good view of the action? Stadiums are symmetrical for a reason

  • sisay mengesha

    Really is it ours? Oh my god, it is beautful.