Can a city of much under 1 million people hold the Olympics? Of course it can. Or at least it was considered to hold them, but eventually won’t. Still, Algerian port Oran will have a majestic stadium.
Along the plan from 2005, Oran in north-western Algeria was to receive an Olympic complex able to hold any large event, including the Summer Olympics themselves.
That’s why 105 hectares along the city’s eastern highway bypass were selected to host the main stadium, secondary training one, two swimming pools, indoor arena for 5,000 people, tennis courts and more facilities.
Initial plans to build the 75,000-capacity stadium by 2012 were eventually scrapped. The main building was downsized to a more rational 40,000 and given priority over remaining venues of the complex. Groundbreaking took place in 2010 and delivery is expected for late 2015. Remainder of the projected facilities is set for 2018.
Despite downsizing efforts, cost went up from initial $142 million to $222.3 million. That’s still a moderate price in global comparison for the stadium Oran is building. Its two-tiered stands are fairly classic in design, offering a continuous lower bowl accommodating most fans and more segmented upper tier.
It’s the roof that stands out in the scheme. Spanning over 300 meters the giant steel structure consists of interwoven segments. Together they form a dynamic and rhythmic form that will become the stadium’s outer elevation.
Naked steel will only be covered by a more opaque cladding in the west, where most of the planned infrastructure is. The eye-catching steel skeleton wasn’t only designed to please visitors aesthetically, it’s also a very effective structure in the seismically unstable location.
Regardless of major events the city may apply for with this new infrastructure, week-to-week use is to be provided by largest local football team, Mouloudia (MC Oran). The club will relocate from centrally-located Stade Ahmed Zabana.