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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

SIP Sports Center in Suzhou, China by gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

October 15th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner   

Construction of SIP Sports Center in Suzhou has started
Masterplan links three stadiums with park landscape and leisure facilities

Construction work on the SIP Sports Centre has started in the Chinese city of Suzhou. The multi-functional sports center in Suzhou Industrial Park, designed by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners, has been scheduled for completion in 2017. The complex combines sports facilities for large events, leisure and cultural facilities, as well as shopping and hotel functions in a generous, publicly accessible park landscape.

Bird’s eye view, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Bird’s eye view, Image Courtesy © Willmore

  • Architects: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner  
  • Project: SIP Sports Center
  • Location: Suzhou, China
  • Photography: Willmore
  • Design: Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Magdalene Weiss
  • Project leader, competition: Chen Ying, Sebastian Schmidt
  • Design team, competition: Cai Xing, Feng Chenjie, Martin Friedrich, Alex Fu, Gao Shusan, Jin Zhan, Li Zhaoying, Song Mo, Wang Lin, Yan Luji, Zhang Zhen, Zhao Mengtong, Zhu Lingli, Li Mu, Christina Patt
  • Project leader, implementation: Chen Ying, Sui Jingying, Yan Luji
  • Team implementation: Nard Buijs, Cai Lei, Jessen Chen, Alex Fu, Huang Meng, Li Chen, Oliver Lößer, Sebastian Schmidt, Su Wen, Wang Minyu, Yao Yao, Zeng Zi, Zhao Mengtong
  • Client: Suzhou Industrial Park Sports Industry Development Co., Ltd.

    The stadiums topping podiums in the park, Image Courtesy © Willmore

    The stadiums topping podiums in the park, Image Courtesy © Willmore

  • Stadium: 45,000 seats
  • Natatorium: 3,000 seats
  • Sports and multi-purpose hall: 15,000 seats
  • GFA above ground: 263,310 m2
  • GFA below ground: 157,730 m2
Complex with hotel and retail center, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Complex with hotel and retail center, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Suzhou is famous in China for its landscape design, and the masterplan for this new sports park is based on this tradition. In a modern interpretation of the city’s traditional gardens, an informally designed park landscape flows around the podiums that rise in straight lines from the surrounding streets and support the stadiums. The curved roofs of the stadiums give the impression of pavilions, marking the high points in this landscape. As visitors walk along the curved pathways, various vistas open up to water features, pavilion architecture, and the landscape. The site opens out to the Xietang River to the south, with various sportsgrounds embedded in the landscape.

The sports park – which has been developed jointly by the City and District authorities – includes a 45,000-seat stadium, an indoor pool with 3,000 seats, and a sports hall with 15,000 seats, and is surrounded by numerous residential quarters and a lively ambience. With its wide range of functions, beyond pure sporting events, the park has been designed to ensure a permanent and sustainable flow of visitors.

All three stadiums are topped by conspicuous undulating roofs that make the ensemble into a landmark visible from afar. In addition, the succinct character of the ensemble is reinforced by a uniform façade design: the façades of both the stadiums and the podiums are structured by horizontal lines which follow the shape of the buildings in elegant curves.

Façade design to enhance the uniform character of the ensemble, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Façade design to enhance the uniform character
of the ensemble, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Owing to its size and impressive clear span of 250 meters, the 45,000-seat stadium with its covered stands forms the focal point of the park. Its curved silhouette stands out from the urban environment, blending harmoniously with the landscape and the park at the Xietang River. The single-skin cable network roof construction with a membrane skin is not only remarkable for its resource-saving, economical design, but also has an almost suspended, gracious appearance reminiscent of floating curved silk.

Likewise, the indoor swimming pool with seating for 3,000 spectators and the marked undulation of its roof shape created with a single-skin cable network construction combines an elegant, floating appearance with great structural strength. In addition to the competition and training pools, the swimming hall includes a spa area, leisure pools, and sports shops.

The roof of the covered multi-purpose hall for 15,000 visitors located to the north-east of the site is supported by V-shaped columns. They provide a rhythm to the transparent glass façade of the hall, which is just as suitable for large international sports events as it is for concerts, exhibitions, etc.

Masterplan, Image Courtesy © gmp

Masterplan, Image Courtesy © gmp

In  addition to the three sports stadiums there is a hotel and retail center that harmonizes with the undulating landscape in similar fashion. In its façades, it  replicates the horizontal lines of the other buildings and thereby fits harmoniously into the ensemble. A special dynamism is created by the lines of the high-rise building façade, which  are spaced at reducing intervals towards the top, thereby conveying a fine elegance to the large tower.

Bird’s eye view at night, Image Courtesy © Willmore

Bird’s eye view at night, Image Courtesy © Willmore

The facility is well connected to the Metro and offers the Suzhou citizens not only park, sports and leisure facilities but also  various shops for day-to-day needs, thus creating an attractive center for the new part of the city.

Photo of construction site, taken from a drone in August 2015, Image Courtesy © gmp

Photo of construction site,
taken from a drone in August 2015, Image Courtesy © gmp

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Categories: Sports Centre, Sports Complex, Stadium

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