LAVA stadium in Ethiopia

June 21, 2012

LAVA wins the international architecture competition for a national stadium and sports village held by the Federal Sport Commission, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa will see the construction of a new FIFA and Olympic-standard 60,000-seat stadium designed by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) in collaboration with DESIGNSPORT and local Ethiopian firm JDAW.

Director of JDAW Daniel Assefa says “the design references Ethiopia’s world-famous excavated architecture – centuries-old rock churches, dwellings and cisterns. We see the sports city as a natural extension to this heritage, one that will draw many more visitors to our beautiful country”.

The façade material that will wrap the stadium is inspired by the ‘massob’, an Ethiopian communal serving basket made from woven grass. These patterns will be digitally created through parametric modelling and will be built with local materials.

From an aerial view the form of the stadium, according to Assefa, will recall “coffee beans, the main source of income in Ethiopia and the ‘Mother womb’, the skeleton of one of the first humans, Lucy, which is about 3.2 million years old”.

LAVA director Chris Bosse says of the competition-winning design, “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 remodelling of the existing terrain and generates efficient spaces, optimises environmental performance, minimises construction costs and integrates facilities within the existing landscape.

The collaborative masterplan includes the IOC-standard stadium for FIFA matches, athletics events, concerts, and religious and national festivals. The additional sports village will comprise indoor and outdoor aquatic centres, outdoor pitches, sports halls and arenas, dormitories, and the headquarters for the Federal Sport Commission.

LAVA, who have offices in Sydney, Shanghai, Stuttgart and Abu Dhabi, were founded in 2007 and are known for combining new technology with traditional architectural principles.

The construction of the stadium is expected to commence in 2014.

Images courtesy of LAVA.

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