Halo-like stadium "hovers" over rolling landscape
As is often the case with projects from MAD Architects, its recently completed Quzhou Stadium stands out with an unusual, almost alien-like form. Described as a halo hovering over the landscape by the firm, the sports stadium is also designed to become part of its surroundings and encourage visitors to explore and climb over over parts of the structure.
The Quzhou Stadium represents the completion of the first phase of MAD's massive Quzhou Sports Park project, which will take the form of a series of hills in Zhejiang Province, China. The building's sinuous exterior is meant to reflect a mountain ridge within view of the site, while its landscaping is designed to evoke imaginary planets, says MAD.
"Appearing from a distance like a halo hovering gently above the landscape, the overhanging structure of Quzhou Stadium is the newest crown jewel of the city," explained MAD. "Unlike the typically fortress-like stadiums built in urban areas around the world, MAD Architects was determined to build a stadium that would embed much of the technology that went into its production so that it can instead be open to the surrounding public space from nearly every angle.
"It is conceived as a piece of land art that submerges itself into the nature and welcomes everyone to gather and share the sports spirit. With this concept in mind, the undulations of the surrounding topography are carried through to the sloping facade, onto which visitors are encouraged to determine for themselves where the landscape ends and the building begins. Even when the stadium is closed, visitors are encouraged to climb the structure and treat it as an active piece of the landscape."
The building is supported by 60 sets of concrete columns, with exposed wood-grained concrete walls adding texture to the austere material. The stadium canopy is made up of steel, onto which a translucent material membrane was wrapped on its lower areas, with the upper surface covered in a plastic membrane.
Multiple openings in the landscape allow natural light to permeate deep into the subterranean sections of the stadium, including a parking garage and its eight entrances. The stadium is also engineered to capture and reuse rainwater – presumably for irrigation, though MAD doesn't actually specify. Additionally, the studio selected hardy local plants that require minimal maintenance and watering, while all of the concrete was locally produced to reduce emissions (though we should note that standard concrete is definitely not an environmentally friendly material, wherever it's made).
Now that Quzhou Stadium is complete, work continues on Quzhou Sports Park's second phase, which will add a 10,000 seat gymnasium, a science and technology museum, hotel accommodations, youth center and retail programs, and more.