China ceaselessly continues to feature design and innovation updates by hosting events and projects of immense scale and significance. Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Sports Center has finally started to take its shape. While this October, China-Singapore SIP celebrates its 20th anniversary, Suzhou Sports Center is expected to be ready by 2017.
This project remains to be a linchpin on the road-map of Sino – Singapore’s bilateral progress. The primary reason that Suzhou was finalized as the site for a shared industrialization venture was its proximity to Shanghai and its socially elevated demographics. A sports complex designed by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners i.e. gmp Architekten, acts as a multi-functional urban anchor, which aims at balancing the socio-economic flux of an emerging industrial domain. This massive sports center is expected to offer an omnibus of recreational engagement with an added advantage of hospitality.
Out of the numerous touchstones for the scale and complexity of this sports center, here are a few requirements, which elucidate the immensity of this project. The stadium’s clear span is 250 meters with a capacity of 45,000. The project also consists of an indoor swimming pool and an indoor sports arena. These functions depend upon the alimentary residential fabric, housing both the stable and the floating population. Much of the design of Suzhou’s master plan revolves around the scheme of traditional landscape. The concept of interrelated platforms across varying heights emerges from a sinuous network of informally designed streets, parks and water channels.
The non-linear profiles of the roofs and pavilions, open up a series of picturesque vistas to the visitors, oriented towards the Xietang River, located southwards in the city. The site is divided into four zones with an interwoven network of landscaping and plazas. The three structures, namely the stadium, the arena and the natatorium are distinct entities, standing tall against the terrene skyline of the city. They share the similar character of undulating roof profiles merging into their succinct forms. This lends them their landmark identity and distinct aesthetics of horizontal layers molding around gentle curves.
Structurally, these buildings are independent from their outer skins. The single skin cable network roof construction makes these massive buildings extremely light weight and perforated. The frame of the multipurpose hall for 15,000 visitors is braced with V shaped diagonal struts, which allow large continuous openings in between them. The ‘resource efficient skin’, as the designers at gmp have termed it, is presumably similar to the polymer coated sustainable membrane, used by them in previous projects. Apart from the sustainable benefits, the skin also renders a gracious silk-like enveloping across the entire form .
All this light weight technology, allows the stadia to perform as elegant venues, which can host concerts, exhibitions and sports summits. Moreover, the hotel and retail centers coalesce with these, to complete a harmonious setup of spaces, which almost fulfills every requisite of a sports related event. While the construction of this has just begun, technical updates of the project are eagerly anticipated.
By: Khushboo Vyas