Bahrain has just over 1.5 million inhabitants. Nevertheless, it was recognized that the country needed a stadium with 50,000 seats. Its design looks impressive and the construction planning itself began three years ago.
Stadium from designers of Formula 1 circuits
Qatar's neighbours have had a Formula 1 circuit for several years now. Now they would like to improve the slightly neglected football infrastructure. Therefore, it was decided a few years back to involve Tilke Engineers & Architects studio to create the concept of the stadium. Germany-based company is a recognized Formula 1 circuit designer.
In 2017, Tilke Engineers & Architects created the design of a new 50,000-seat facility that will eventually replace the national stadium in Riffa, which was built in 1982 and accommodates just over 30,000 spectators.
According to estimates from 2018, construction was to cost BD 16.5 million (then € 35.6 million). It is difficult to say how much it will cost now and when exactly the first works will start, though it seems a safe bet to suggest the price tag would be far higher (nearby conference centre is being built for nearly BD 80 million). At this point, the fate of the stadium depends on the Southern Municipal Council, which is working with a special ministerial committee to prepare a comprehensive project study.
According to the Al-Bilad newspaper, in late 2020, global powerhouse Populous was granted technological consultancy for the project. This suggests we may expect changes to the depicted concept. Recent information indicates a retractable roof is being considered.
The multi-purpose stadium is to be part of Sports City complex to be built in Sakhir. It is a desert area in the southern part of Bahrain. The nearest permanently inhabited settlement is the village of Zallaq. In close proximity to the planned sports complex, there is the Formula 1 Circuit, which was put into use in 2004.
Modernity goes hand in hand with tradition
The stadium is to be built on a circular plan and will have two tiers of stands, separated by a strip of sky boxes and business lounges with a total capacity of 3,000 seats. 47,000 seats are planned for ordinary fans. The dressing rooms for players and other zones related to the organization of the match will be located under the main stand on the west side of the stadium.
The appearance of the facade of the facility is a reference to the present day with some admixture of traditional motifs such as "mashrabiya". This is decoration that refers to the barriers used in mosques and palaces.
The mesh elements of the façade are to start at the base of the roof and end at the level of the first floor in a wave-shaped, gold-coloured seam, which in places rises up to the concourse level of the VIP zones and reveals the entrances to the stadium. The façade may be illuminated by multi-coloured LED lamps, which would create spectacular effects, especially at night.
Stadium as part of Sports City complex
A plaza will be built around the stadium, which will serve as an assembly point for fans before the games. Additionally, on the ground floor, there will be entrances to other sports facilities within the complex, as well as to the planned hotel. The functionality of the venue is to be based on a wide range of possibilities for arranging the space under the stands. Initial plans include catering options, a museum and a prayer room.
In addition to the stadium, Sports City will include, among others a hall with 10,000 seats, smaller halls for team games and non-sport activities, as well as Olympic swimming pools. Moreover, there are also planned: a media centre, training pitches, an athletics track and a parking lot.
Author: Tomasz Sobura