Impressive, sometimes outright lavish architecture is nothing new in Kuwait. But so is the agonisingly slow pace of construction. That’s why the stadium, though nearly complete, will likely open as late as 2022.
Today we’re taking you to the Middle East. Brand new multi-use stadium in Kuwait is being built within the country’s largest educational project ever, the Sabah Al-Salem University City. The entire complex will house up to 50,000 students of 11 colleges and is located on over 600 hectares (sic!) in the south west of the metropolis, incidentally just 1.5 km south of the national Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah International Stadium.
The stadium itself is inspired by dove’s wings, represented by two lofted arches and white, partly translucent membrane. The arches are in fact the tallest structures of the entire academic complex, where almost all other buildings have no more than 5 floors. This vision by joint teams of Skidmore, Owings and Merris (SOM) and Gulf Consult allows the venue to stand out not just locally but also among other compact stadiums.
Its auditorium of 15,000 consists of two long grandstands, each with two tiers. They’re connected by a hexagonal elevated concourse, allowing crowds to flow smoothly without impacting traffic. Main ramp leading to the concourse is located in the west.
Because the stadium was built with university athletes in mind, its facilities are to provide international-standard facilities to football players and track and field athletes alike. Thus the 8-lane running track and extensive sporting facilities spread across a few levels under the stands.
Amenities behind the auditorium rise to well over 20 metres above ground, or 7 floors. A large, enclosed and air-conditioned hospitality zone tops the stands. From the outside, the stadium will be covered with white aluminium tubes, providing a delicate veil.
Aside from the stadium, the sports and leisure part of the University City comprises a domed tennis court, set of secondary courts, two training football fields and conjoined indoor facilities. Altogether, the complex is worth some KWD 84 million ($278.6 million).
The design was delivered back in 2015, groundbreaking took place in 2016 and today the stadium still hasn’t been completed. Which is nothing new in Kuwait, where major projects often take far longer than they would normally. A 15,000-seat stadium under construction for the 5th year – that’s far too long by international standards, especially for a conventional build like this.
And while it’s structurally almost complete, we were unable to confirm whether it would be done sooner than the rest of the complex, that is by September of 2022. So 1.5 years from now.
Author: Michał Karaś