Qatari Consortium to Create Olympic Standard Stadium in Ethiopia

August 12, 2012

A Qatari/Australian led consortium’s design has won an international architecture competition to create a national stadium and sports village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Doha-based Australian firm, DESIGNSPORT, and Australian LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), in collaboration with local Ethiopian architects, JDAW,  won the competition for their design which references Ethiopia’s world-famous excavated architecture and the ‘Mother womb’, the skeleton of one of the first humans, Lucy, who is about 3.2 million years old.

The stadium is shaped like a coffee bean, the main source of income in Ethiopia. The façade material that wraps around the stadium was similarly inspired by Ethiopian culture, modelled on the Massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket made from woven grass.  Completing the salute to nature, the roof of the stadium, which is an intelligent membrane, appears like a cloud on the horizon of the vast Ethiopian sky.

Work on the Addis Ababa stadium is scheduled to begin in 2014.  The development is the largest sporting infrastructure project in Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa and its fastest growing economy. The new facility, set on a 60-hectare site, will consist of a 60,000-seat stadium, an athletics track, aquatic centre, residential village, sports halls and arenas, retail and commercial zones as well as the headquarters of the Federal Sport Commission.

Samantha Cotterell, CEO of DESIGNSPORT, a consultancy specialising in sport architecture and event design, who led the bid 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.”

Chris Bosse, who led the design team, and is a director of LAVA, an award winning international firm of architects added: “We have gone back to the very origin of stadium design with the 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.”