Russia spent over $14 billion to host the FIFA World Cup last July and August, with the Kaliningrad Arena itself costing about $300 million. However, only a year after hosting the games, the building has faced numerous issues due to the fact that the stadium was built on previously unused wetlands in a flood plain, with soil not equipped to handle such a large structure. Despite being the most expensive soccer competition in history, the building has faced charges of corruption and shoddy work. According to RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, Aleksei Moisa, the director of the municipal firm in charge of stadium maintenance, Gidrotekhnik, expressed concern for the sewage and draining systems at a city hall meeting on September 10, and that others have noted that heavy rains will cause flooding that could possibly cause the stadium to sink into the swamp. While neglect after their intended purpose is fulfilled is nothing new to stadiums hosting large sporting events (the site of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is already abandoned), the Kaliningrad Arena faced controversy from the start. Designed specifically for the World Cup, the building was completed in March 2018, just months before the start of the games. The company in charge of the stadium’s design soon after declared bankruptcy. According to Aras Agalarov, chief of Crocus Group, the general contractor for the stadium, the foundation was supposed to be bolstered up with sand; however, only half of what was required (and a lower quality product) was used. This news was followed by the arrests of the former regional minister for construction, Amir Kushkhov, and Sergei Trubinskiy, a regional deputy director in charge of construction control, and Khachim Eristov, a senior manager at GlobalElektroService, a subsidiary of the company Summa, who had been contracted to do the construction for the foundation. Later in March 2018, Ziyavudin Magomedov, a co-owner of Summa, was detained and charged in a case involving a theft of 2.5 billion rubles (39 million dollars) linked to the stadium project. Solomon Ginsburg, a member of the Public Chamber of the Kaliningrad Oblast, said that what he called the “ingenious thievery” surrounding the project was solely rooted in the poor choice of location.
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This Sunday, all eyes will be on the pitch of the Parc Olympic Lyonnais (Parc OL) for the final match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The United States and its yet-to-be-determined competitor will go head to head in the French town of Lyon for the much-anticipated game, and while most will hope to see soccer star Megan Rapinoe back on the field, the impressive stadium architecture will also be back on full display for one last time. Designed by Populous and Paris-based firm Naço Architecture in 2016, the low-lying Parc OL, a.k.a Groupama Stadium, is a 578,000-square-foot arena holding nearly 60,000 seats. Its most distinctive feature—a turtle-shaped shell covered in white fabric—shines in the midday sun and is illuminated from within during nighttime play. The four-story concrete, glass, and steel venue actually boasts the nickname “Stade des Lumières” or Stadium of Lights, due to this. In addition, the undulating canopy was designed to mimic the rolling hills and forests found in Lyon, and its support columns look like tree branches, according to Populous principal Gary Reeves in conversation with Interior Design. Built just ahead of the 2016 European Championships, the $468 million stadium has quickly become one of the top sporting venues in all of France. It was one of nine stadiums selected to be a part of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and as the largest venue on the list by far, it was slated to host nine matches total, including last Monday's semifinal and the upcoming final. One of the most compelling reasons so many matches have been scheduled in Lyon is because of the town’s bigtime football history. Several major French professional players have come out of the 500,000-strong city, which sits southeast of the country’s core. Parc OL is also home to the Olympique Lyonnais, the Ligue 1 football club—hence the red- and blue-blocked colors of the bowl. Its women’s team is currently on a 13-year winning streak in the national league, and they’ve won the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League six times since 2011. But World Cup-level soccer isn’t the only pro sport the city excels in. Rugby is also huge, as is volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey. In other words, there are plenty of other large-scale sporting venues scattered throughout the city. While Lyon’s massive sports scene attracts throngs of local and visiting spectators, Parc OL was built outside the heart of the city to the east, away from many other venues. It’s situated next to a commuter highway and is largely surrounded by residential neighborhoods and farmland in the commune of Décines-Charpieu. In order to keep noise from seeping outside the stadium and into the adjacent community during gameplay, Populous designed the space with a large, open bowl that traps the sound of chants going from the north to the south stands. Since Olympique Lyonnais home fans are known to be noisy, the fabric roof also reduces sound reflection. Other carefully-designed attractions inside Parc OL include a series of lounges on the outer edges of the stadium sectioned off with double-height glazing. Food and beverages areas are also located here. The Salon des Lumières, one the arena’s seven larger dining options, was intentionally designed with a very sleek, French style that fuses the club’s identity in a seamless fashion. Creating subtle nods to the brand on the venue’s interior was important, according to Naço Architecture founder Marcelo Joulia. The design team integrated this, and a handful of other fan-centric elements such as 110 executive suits, multiple meeting rooms, banquet halls, and bars to get more people out to the stadium. According to Elizabeth Miglierina, an associate architect in Populous's London office, another driver for interest in the stadium is the fact that the pitch is nearly visible from the podium. She wrote in an interview that the protective roof canopy allows for a more dynamic experience in the communal spaces at Parc OL. The spectator concourses were designed by Miglierina and her team to also allow for varying views of the field and the distant French Alps. Some of those spaces are cathedral-like in feel, with triple-height ceilings and work by global street artists adorning the walls as part of Park OL’s Offside Gallery. The gallery is open even on non-match days. Like the stadium’s public spaces, the green car park that surrounds the structure also doubles as a place for congregation and play when matches aren’t going on. Populous worked with French group AIA Associés on the durable landscape. For real-time aerial views of the venue, watch the final match of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup this Sunday at 11 a.m. EST.
Zaha Hadid Architects' (ZHA) 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium, a billowing, nautically-inspired venue in the coastal city of Al Wakrah, Qatar, is now open to the public. Together with AECOM, ZHA drew on the shape of dhows, long, thin traditional sailing boats, to create the swooping curves of the Al Janoub Stadium’s roof. When the 40,000-seat soccer stadium (collapsible to 20,000 after the World Cup) was first revealed, however, commentators were quick to point out its yonic shape and textures. The supposedly fleshy creases are formally meant to reference large sails, while the curved sections are supposed to approximate dhows turned over on their hulls to provide shelter. Adding further complexity to the roof are the pleated panels that cascade down the sides of the building, connecting at the eaves to bronzed lattices on the lower stories. The lower screens visually depart from the white and off-white panels above, but also reference traditional Islamic crafting techniques through their shape and metallic cover. Inside, the stadium was designed to passively cool its patrons. The fully-operable polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) roof, designed by Schlaich Bergermann Partner unfurls along a cable track to protect spectators and players from the harsh summer sun. The underside of the roof continues the nautical styling of the stadium’s exterior, with a coffered ceiling that meets circular, steel rigging at the center that’s crisscrossed with speakers, lights, and screens. Al Janoub Stadium sits on top of a new landscaped podium, with large voids cut into the structure to allow for at-grade entry and vehicle access.
As France and Croatia prepare to face off in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final this Sunday, North American cities are already thinking about 2026, when the United States, Mexico, and Canada will co-host the games. Announced last month, it’s perhaps one of the only unifying moments that’s happened lately between the three neighboring countries given the continent's current political rifts. But a lot can happen in eight years, and while North Americans wait to find out how relationships might repair, we can logistically consider how the world’s favorite sport will play out in our own backyard. Per the aptly named United Bid, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico argue that existing infrastructure, local partnerships, and state-of-the-art stadiums will decrease costs and encourage sustainable practices within the games. Sixty of the eighty planned matches are set to take place in the U.S., including all games from the quarterfinals onwards. As of now, 17 U.S. cities have begun campaigning to secure their individual bids, while Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton have already been named as official hosts. By 2021, FIFA will pare down the list of U.S cities to 10. Boston Consulting Group, a global management firm, recently projected that the tournament will generate over $5 billion in economic activity for the three host countries, while single cities in the U.S. might expect a net benefit of up to $480 million each. Which top towns will make the cut? A few of FIFA’s general requirements give insight into the possible results. To host a World Cup match, each city must be able to hold at least five matches in a stadium with a capacity of at least 40,000 people. Seating for 80,000 people must be available for the opening and final matches. With FIFA’s expanded format going into effect in 2026, 48 teams will be able to participate in the tournament. That’s 16 more teams than previous World Cups, making it more important than ever for the host countries to showcase strong transportation, solid hospitality services, and modern sports arenas with the ability to accommodate the increased number of fans. One of the United Bid’s strongest points, according to FIFA, was that it could ensure the long-term use of each stadium following the World Cup. Each building in the proposal is fully-functional and already services major sports events year round. The following cities and stadiums (architects listed) are contending for 2026: Atlanta - Mercedes-Benz Stadium by HOK, tvsdesign, Good Van Slyke Architecture, and Stanley Beaman & Sears Baltimore - M&T Bank Stadium by Populous Boston - Gillette Stadium by Populous Cincinnati - Paul Brown Stadium by NBBJ Dallas - AT&T Stadium by HKS Architects Denver - Mile High Stadium by Stanley E. Morse Houston - NRG Stadium by Populous and Houston Stadium Consultants Kansas City, Missouri - Arrowhead Stadium by Kivett and Myers and Populous Los Angeles - Rose Bowl by Myron Hunt Miami - Hard Rock Stadium by HOK/360 Nashville - Nissan Stadium by Populous and McKissack & McKissack New York - Met Life Stadium by HOK, Bruce Mau, Rockwell Group, and EwingCole Orlando - Camping World Stadium by HNTB Philadelphia - Lincoln Financial Field by NBBJ San Francisco - Levi’s Stadium by HNTB Seattle - CenturyLink by Ellerbe Becket and LMN Architects Washington, D.C. - FedEx Field by Populous This is a major opportunity for the U.S. to both bring in new capital and upgrade infrastructure in conjunction with the games. The U.S. hasn’t hosted a World Cup since 1994 when Brazil beat Italy at Rose Bowl Stadium. The famous arena is one of the rumored spots to anchor the 2026 final match in addition to the new L.A. Rams Stadium by HKS Architects, MetLife Stadium in New York—which hosted Copa America in 2016—as well as the proposed, Bjarke Ingels-designed new home for the Washington Redskins. The U.S. will most likely be guaranteed a place in the games, following tradition that the host country's team will be included in the tournament.
As preparations and celebrations unfurl for the 2018 FIFA World Cup kick-off in Russia tomorrow, AN has rounded up our favorite up-and-coming projects (and new sports venues) across the country. From James Bond-esque houses and parachute-themed neighborhoods to massive new developments, Russia has provided a playground for high-profile firms to experiment with new forms. Below are some of the wildest and most ambitious projects announced or completed recently, including the venues for the games themselves: Silhouette Location: Moscow MVRDV The modular Silhouette was the result of a design competition that concluded in January of this year and will serve as a “gateway to Moscow” once completed. The 256-foot-tall, mixed-use complex contains a bit of everything—luxury apartments on the top floors and a roof terrace, offices, a sports center, and a grocery store at its base. The pixelated tower block will be clad in a red ceramic tile, and the form takes cues from abstractions of Moscow’s skyline and the constructivist Ministry of Agriculture building across the street. The extrusions and sculptural cuts at the building’s base were carefully planned to create an inviting presence at ground level. Tuschino District Residential Development Location: Moscow Steven Holl Architects and Kamen Steven Holl Architects and Kamen Architecture Art-Group have proposed a new “Parachute Hybrids” typology for their residential development in Moscow’s Tushino district. Drawing inspiration from the site’s history as a former paratrooper airfield, the vertically-oriented slabs and horizontal bases have been run through with circular cuts reminiscent of parachutes drifting through the sky. Tushino will offer residences of every type and target every income bracket, while a new kindergarten and elementary school will serve residents in the development. “Tushino can be an important urban model for 21st century high density living, shaping public open space,” said Steven Holl. “The new building type we have proposed here, inspired by the site’s history, is unique to this place.” Capital Hill Residence Location: Moscow Zaha Hadid Architects The recently completed Capital Hill Residence was the only private house designed by Hadid herself, and the towering form bears all of the late architect’s signature biomorphic curves. Rising above the tree line of the Moscow’s Barvikha Forest like an emerging submarine, the house’s prominent “mast” seemingly floats 72 feet above the landscape and provides sweeping views. The building’s base gradually tapers into the earth below and provides a private area for the homeowner to retreat to. The organic shape of the concrete and dramatic change in elevation is meant to give viewers the impression of something fast-moving and fluid. Admiral Serebryakov Embankment master plan Location: Novorossiysk Zaha Hadid Architects and Pride TPO (Moscow) ZHA will be responsible for revitalizing nearly 35 acres of coastal neighborhood along the Black Sea in Novorossiysk at Russia’s largest port. Residents can expect new opportunities for outdoor leisure activities on the Black Sea, a new port, marina, new piers, and a weaving of the new areas into the city’s existing urban. The master plan will also bring nine new buildings to the waterfront, each representing a different stage in a sequential iterative design, creating a sweeping, wave-like skyline in the process. The one million square feet of new space will be used for a hotel, civic and conference spaces, and offices. The project is moving quickly, and construction on the first phase will begin in the second half of 2019. Ekaterinburg Arena Location: Yekaterinburg PI Arena (2015-2017 renovation) Originally built in 1956 as the multi-sport Central Stadium, Ekaterinburg Arena was recently renovated in 2011. Although it was modernized, the arena’s 20,000-seat capacity meant that another round of work would be needed to bring the arena up to FIFA’s 35,000 seat minimum. Another renovation took place in 2015 that saved the building’s historic facade and increased the stadium's capacity, but temporary seating to bring the arena’s capacity up to 45,000 seats was still needed, and has been installed behind both goal areas for the four World Cup games being played there. Volgograd Arena Location: Volgograd Sport-Engineering A spiraling lattice swirls around the base of Volgograd Arena, one of the stadiums built for this year’s World Cup. The project was built on a budget, but the exposed superstructure, squat single-piece form, and colorful cable roof makes it architecturally distinct from many of the Soviet-era venues made from concrete. After the World Cup, Volgograd Arena will have its seating capacity reduced down to 35,000 and the stadium will become the new home of local football club Rotor Volgograd. Nizhny Novgorod Stadium Location: Nizhny Novgorod OAO Stroytransgaz A light and airy stadium at the fork of two rivers, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium was designed with elements of air and water in mind. The white-and-blue color palette and spacious use of columns to create open-air areas helps lend the stadium a feeling of openness. At night, the building emanates light from the top and sides through its semi-transparent facade. The stadium was commissioned for the 2018 World Cup and was completed last year. The building boasts a 45,000-seat capacity and will be handed over to football club Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod after the World Cup is over.
Qatari officials considering an underwater TV station, among other outlandish pitches, as its $200 billion 2022 World Cup approaches
Seven years away and already commanding a reported $200 billion budget in preparations, the FIFA World Cup 2022 has Qatari officials deliberating over proposals for an underwater TV station. Los Angeles–based artificial reef and aquarium design firm Reef Worlds is pushing designs for a $30 million underwater broadcast studio which, post–World Cup, will be turned into a public aquarium. The studio itself will occupy a carved-out rocky cavern on the ocean floor. According to Patric Douglas, CEO of Reef Worlds, Qatar World Cup authorities warmed to the preliminary designs and “the notion of doing the World Cup underwater with sharks swimming around.” In terms of funding, Douglas predicted that it would be covered by broadcasters who want to use the film location as a base during the World Cup. “You could underwrite the entire thing with one Sky or Latin broadcast network, they will pay you enough money to finance this thing,” he told Arabian Business. Qatari officials, who have a generous appetite for the superlative and the submerged, will decide in either July or August whether to greenlight Douglas’ plans. A European real estate agent based in Dubai is developing a collection of three-story properties with one floor submerged as a cross between a boat and a villa. Each unit will reportedly sell for $1.4 million. Meanwhile, Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala is soliciting investors for his plans to build the world’s first underwater tennis stadium. Qatar’s current budget of $200 billion for the FIFA World Cup amounts to an eye-watering $100,000 per capita. This, of course, all comes as FIFA finds itself in a massive corruption scandal, and renewed scrutiny over why Qatar, a country with a terrible human rights record and a very hot climate, was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Should the proposal meet a dead end, Reef Worlds is nevertheless bent on developing “sustainable underwater tourism sites” in Dubai, UAE, and the wider Gulf. The firm recently completed designs for the world’s first underwater amusement park, which is modeled after the mythical city of Atlantis and inspired by motion pictures such as Avatar and Pirates of the Carribean. If approved, the park will be built on The World, a series of man-made islands off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a map of the world.
The Arab state of Qatar is in full swing with its plans to host the FIFA World Games 2022. Selected in 2010, it is the first time in the history of FIFA that a Middle Eastern Country has been chosen to host the tournament. Three existing stadiums will be expanded and nine new ultra-modern stadiums will be built, including one designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The stadiums will reach capacities from approximately 45,000 seats for the group matches, to more than 85,000 seats for the finals. The design vision involves keeping all the stadiums within a one hour drive from the FIFA headquarters, allowing fans to attend more than one game a day. The state has submitted a substantial dossier concerned with all relevant issues ranging from accommodation, transport, security, environment to the stadium infrastructure. Part of the giant venture includes the construction of a a new, 200-mile-long metro system, expected to be completed in 2021. Al Shamal Stadium is one of the proposed stadiums to be completed in 2017. The design of the structure is inspired by the local fishing boats (dhows), commonly used in the Persian Gulf, and will accommodate approximately 45,000 people. Another proposed venue is the Al Khor Stadium which will take on an asymmetrical seashell form, providing capacity for over 45,000 fans, and an additional 1,000 seats for press.
Zaha Hadid is on a stadium kick of late. Work has already begun for the design of a 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium to be built in Qatar by Zaha Hadid Architects and AECOM. The 45,000-seat stadium is meant to visually embody an oasis and will be built 12 miles southeast of capital-city, Doha. The stadium will be built alongside historical buildings, including mosques and archeological sites, and its design looks to mediate between modern sports facility design and the historic context. Hadid has also taken the unrelenting heat that characterizes the region into the stadium's design by including cooling technology and climate control systems. The stadium will also be outfitted with a spa, an aquatic center and other sporting facilities. The facility is designed to be reduced in scale after the World Cup games to a final capacity of 25,500 seats. [Via Designboom.]
Global architecture and design practice Populous, designer of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, has been selected as architect for a large new stadium in the compact town of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, a city of just over 1 million people about 650 miles south of Moscow. Designed to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the stadium is Populous' fourth design for a sports venue in Russia and will contain an anticipated 45,000 seats under a cloud-like, seemingly-floating canopy. Set along the Don River, the Rostov Stadium design takes into account the surrounding landscape by drawing inspiration from kurgans—archeological mounds of earth formed along river banks and once used for pagan rituals—with artificial hills pushed up around the stadium's perimeter. Populous took an environmentally conscious stance in their proposal, aiming to protect wetlands south of the River near the stadium site. The stadium itself is sheltered by a balloon-like roof consisting of two long panels around its perimeter—each resembling a smooth, curving paintbrush stroke from above—with a central opening allowing light onto the playing field. External paths and entrances to the venue continue this theme with more curves and soft winding lines. For the World Cup, the stadium will have a capacity of 45,000 seats, which will later be scaled down to 25,000 seats.