Despite global outcry about the Wuhan coronavirus, we're not going to mention it from this point onward. Let's focus on the impressive sports complex, one of several across this modern Chinese city. And, unlike many Chinese stadia, this one has a football host.
Land earmarked for the construction of yet one more sports complex in Wuhan used to be the end of the city back in 2002. But the new north-western Dongxihu district has grown so fast that by 2010 it boasted nearly half a million residents. The sports and leisure center received a representative quarter of 20 hectares between the 3rd and 4th ring-roads.
The plot's central space was reserved, as is customary, for the multi-use stadium, which also sets the axis of symmetry for the entire complex. North of the stadium, on both its sides, sit two secondary volumes: indoor arena (north east, up to 7,559 seats) and natatorium (north west, 1,090 seats).
All three forms are connected with vast, expansive promenade which not only envelopes the complex but also reaches across avenues in the form of bridges, facilitating pedestrian traffic. Even with 40,000 m2 being dedicated to parking spaces (+ additional underground parking attached to the stadium's main stand), it's still hoped that majority of spectators would arrive using public transport. Already before opening, the complex was connected to extended 1st line of Wuhan Metro, then in 2019 the 6th line also received a station within walking distance, not mentioning numerous bus lines.
Total construction area for the three main buildings and anciliary facilities is 144,000 m2, of which the stadium is by far the largest single element with a footprint of 40,000 m2 without including the open promenade around it. Just over 200 meters wide and 240 meters long, it's one of the largest buildings throughout Dongxihu. Including the underground facilities of its west stand it offers 7 floors, 4 of them above ground. Thanks to the abundance of floor space enough room was created not just for professional athletes and footballers but also amateurs lured by training facilities, to be open all week round.
The prefabricated concrete stands are considered very efficient structurally, just like the roof itself. While tensile cable roofs are no novelty in 2019, here cables support traditional girders rather than simply carrying membrane (it would have been 15,000 tons with regular truss structure, here it's 8,000 tons). The canopy covers all 30,000 seats, which are spread across two tiers, first with 17 rows throughout and the second with between 4 and 30 rows, depending on part of the stadium. The layout isn't optimal for football due to having an IAAF compliant 9-lane running track.
Symbolically the complex has two layers. First, when seen from aerial view, roof glazing of all three main volumes resembles a phoenix taking flight. When viewed from pedestrian perspective the buildings bring to mind Chinese ribbon dancing as each of them is veiled in three stripes of 'ribbon' (perforated aluminium panels).
Like many such projects across China, the complex was built for major domestic and minor international tournaments, as well as mass amateur sport. The first tournament celebrated here were the 2019 Military World Games, during which several disciplines were hosted here (but not opening and closing ceremonies, these were held at the larger Wuhan SC Stadium). However, the very first event was a Chinese Super League game of Wuhan Zall, who became the key professional tenants in 2019.