KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The People’s Republic of China has selected the NEB Design Group Inc. for an 80,000-seat Olympic stadium in the city of Guangzhou about 100 miles (161 km) north of Hong Kong. The facility, to be known as the Guangdong Olympic Stadium, will be the centerpiece of a 10 million-sq.ft. (nearly one million m2) Olympic center to include retail, food service, a hotel and an athletic club.
NEB won a design competition involving eight firms, five outside China. NEB is a design consortium composed of Ellerbe Becket (design architect), Nixon & Nixon Inc. (project architect) and the Architectural Design and Research Institute of South China University of Technology (architect of record).
The stadium will be ready for the 9th National Games of the People’s Republic of China in the fall of 2001. Total budget for the stadium is US $119 million.
The design team set out to create an icon that relates to the physical environment and history of the 2000-year-old city. The climate of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) is balmy, and the city is green year-round. Guangzhou also is known as the “Flower City.” The stadium bowl grows out of the ground to a sculpted upper edge, like the petals of a flower. Floating above the bowl is a shimmering ribbon of roof flowing like a wave over the seats. It parts at the ends and holds the Olympic flame, suspended between the two ribbons.
A hotel surrounds a circular opening in the roof that forms a vertical tower of light, which at night is visible for a great distance. The roof form undulates, making it different from any other stadium in China or the world.
“The project must be an icon, a hallmark statement for the future,” said Gordon Wood, AIA, Ellerbe Becket principal in charge. “At the same time a stadium is a place of celebration and must reflect the special nature of the events and activities that take place there. It should be a place of excitement, special occasions, social activity and renewal.”
In addition to the track and field events of the national games, Guangdong Stadium also will play host to football (soccer), concerts and exhibitions. The stadium will have modern revenue-generating features such as a 108,000-sq.ft. (10,000 m2) retail space, an athletic club, food and beverage service, a 100-room hotel, 100 private suites and VIP facilities.
“Within this grand idea is a stadium that will work for the people of China for many years to come,” said Nick Nixon, AIA, president of Nixon & Nixon.
As a member of the Atlanta Stadium Design Team, Ellerbe Becket designed the Centennial Olympic Stadium in Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. An innovator since its founding in 1909, Ellerbe Becket provides integrated architecture, engineering, interiors, planning and construction services from 12 office locations worldwide.
Founded 30 years ago, Nixon & Nixon is headquartered in Oklahoma City and also has offices in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Nixon & Nixon is a full-service architecture and engineering firm.