One of the most unique roofs ever built has just been completed in Suzhou, China. We have to wait for the stadium to open until spring of 2018, though. Let's see what's planned!
The multi-use stadium in Suzhou was part of long-term urban planning since late 20th century, however it waited until the growth of new Industrial Park district gained pace.
A site once occupied by wetland agricultural facilities was equipped with wide avenues by 2011, cutting off 60 hectares earmarked for sport and leisure in the east of Suzhou. Please compare these two satellite images 15 years apart to appreciate how the area has changed:
At the complex's heart a stadium for 45,000 people, but – as the Chinese got us used to – there's also an indoor arena with 15,000 seats and a covered natatorium for 3,000 further people. Together with hotel and offices, open-air sports facilities, public green and 3,300 parking spaces the complex is meant to become Suzhou's new leisure hub.
All major facilities have been designed with striking similarity. They each have undulating, saddle-shaped roof supported by V-shaped columns. Due to its scale, the stadium is of course most impressive.
Not by seat count, 45,000 wouldn't impress anyone in China. But the long-span single-layer cable roof is one-of-a-kind globally. Similar only to that of national stadium in Kuwait, the roof is a dynamic structure with highest and lowest point differing in height by roughly 25 meters!
Contrary to the Arab equivalent, this Chinese stadium isn't supported by concrete, rather by 40 thin V-shaped columns. This openwork frame weighs just 4,600 tons, which the investor claims to be 60-70% less than other venues of this scale. And it is worth mentioning that the roof spans across 260 meters and covers 31,600 m2. Its 9 km of steel cables and PTFE membrane were both imported from other countries due to the structure's complexity.
With that description you surely already know that the building is designed by GMP Architekten and roof is the work of SBP. Their creation went under construction in early 2015 with initial delivery time expected to be late 2017. In the end the deadline was shifted to first half of 2018.
The roof structure has officially been delivered on October 17 and now installation and furnishing works go on at the stadium. Both the outer cladding and seats are being mounted and we should see the building accepting first visitors around June of next year at the latest.