Sports Complex in Ethiopia -LAVA

The National Stadium Sports Village of Ethiopia (recently awarded at the international architecture competition held by the Federal Sport Commission in Ethiopia) is going to be located in the middle of the capital of Addis Ababa and constitutes a remarkable architectural plan by LAVA, the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture and Designsport, which collaborated with the local Ethiopian firm JDAW. The sports complex itself is designed to be modern yet traditional, futuristic however grounded, planed upon a notably slighter budget than similar athletic developments.  The sports complex was designed regarding two main endeavors in mind: The architects demanded ‘more architecture with less materials’. Above all this centre is paying worship to human and their investigations.

Thereby, this sports centre is introducing an array of creative initiatives that undeniably will signify a lot for the Ethiopians. Addis architect Daniel Assefa and director of JDAW says: ‘We see the sports city as a natural extension to this heritage, one that will draw many more visitors to our beautiful country.’

The centre aims to promote the infamous football and bring together different football communities in Ethiopia’s principal. The perception of the football and the fans among city inhabitants was always crucial and now they are offered a new FIFA and Olympic standard 60,000 seat stadium.

The complex proposes architecture that, integrates into the surrounding environment (in this case the spectacular beauty of the neighboring Entoto Hills). By using local materials, for instance the Massob, an Ethiopian communal serving basket made from woven grass, which inspired the façade material and wraps the stadium. While the form of the stadium is seen likewise coffee beans’ shapes and the roof of the stadium, such as a sharp crust, appears alike a cloud on Ethiopian sky. Overall, the complex is about to cover 60 hectares.

The design’s challenge comes with respect to its master plan of conveying all of the facilities that it will nestle (IOC-standard stadium for FIFA matches; and a sports village comprising indoor and outdoor aquatic centers as well as commercial zones), whilst making the most of the design’s contours.   With this in mind, the master plan is conceived through tectonic efficient structures and balanced movement.

Chris Bosse and LAVA director elaborates: ‘We have gone back to the very origin of stadium design with a sunken arena surrounded by grandstands formed from excavated material. This man-made crater is a clever remodeling of the existing terrain and generates efficient spaces, optimizes environmental performance, minimizes construction costs and integrates facilities within the existing landscape.’ As a result, the centre pierces the existing landscape, although it is built with the help of brand new technology.

All buildings will get connected by a central plaza which will be occupied with shades and fountains. Finally, LAVA’s German directors, Alexander Rieck and Tobias Wallisser declare: ‘Coming from a football nation ourselves we are thrilled that LAVA can contribute to this African nation’s joy in the global sport.’ Its construction has presently started and thus, will be accomplished during the year of 2014.

WordsMaria Passarivaki

More info: Project: National Stadium and Sports Village // Client: The Federal Sports Commission of Ethiopia // Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia // Date: 2012 // Size: 60 Hectares // Program: 60,000 seat stadium, athletics track, aquatic centre, residential village, headquarters, Federal Sport Commission and sports halls and arenas // Status: Competition Winner June 2012.


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