Morocco: Largest World Cup 2030 stadium will be designed by prestigious firm

source:; author: Miguel Ciołczyk Garcia

Morocco: Largest World Cup 2030 stadium will be designed by prestigious firm The competition to design the largest stadium of the 2030 World Cup has been awarded! The joint vision of a French-Moroccan firm and Populous, a consortium with an impressive portfolio, has been selected. What will they make Grand Stade de Casablanca look like?


Strong competition

The construction of Grand Stade de Casablanca has been talked about since the beginning of the 20th century. Two decades and four projects after first information on the planned venue spread out, the Moroccan authorities got down to the project in earnest due to Morocco's selection as co-host of the 2030 World Cup. The competition to design the 115,000-seater venue, which is expected to be the largest football arena in the world, saw their visions submitted by:

  • Herzog & De Meuron (Switzerland)
  • Zaha Hadid Architects (United Kingdom)
  • Foster + Partners, (United Kingdom)
  • Cruz y Ortiz (Spain)
  • GMP Architects (Germany)
  • HPP Architects (Germany)
  • Populous and OUALALOU + CHOI (USA and France & Morocco)

From among the competing companies, the Moroccan National Agency for Public Facilities (ANEP) has selected the joint application of the US firm Populous and the French-Moroccan firm OUALALOU + CHOI. They will be supported by Maffeis Engineering, ME Engineering, Rider Levett Bucknall, Momentum and SEPSI.

Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca (|)Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca by Populous from 2011

What details about Grand Stade de Casablanca are already known?

According to Populous (and the same message posted on the O+C website), the design of the 115,000-capacity megastadion will be inspired by a festival with the French name moussem, derived from the traditions of the Maghreb countries. The entire venue will be covered by a suspended, tented roof.

The stadium will be built 38 kilometres north of Casablanca, Morocco's capital, in the province of Benslimane. Preparatory work is already underway on the 100-hectare site. According to Atalayar magazine, the budget for the new arena is around 5 billion Moroccan dirhams, or around $500 million.

According to the assurances of the winners of the competition, it will be possible to build the facility in time to host the matches of the 2030 World Cup, co-organised primarly by Spain, Portugal and Morocco. After the tournament, the capital's teams - Wydad AC and Raja CA - will play their matches at the stadium.

Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca (|)Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca by Populous from 2011

A global player with experience

While this is only the second stadium project in the portfolio for the French-Moroccan brand, Populous is one of the most important and recognised companies in the stadium world. It already has prepared more than 1,325 projects (not all completed) in 34 countries.

Among the most important are Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or Emirates Stadium in the UK and Estadio BBVA in Mexico, but Populous has designed most of the biggest facilities in the USA. In America, State Farm Stadium, NRG Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, Gillette Stadium and Hard Rock Stadium, among others, were built according to the company's vision.

Out of the projects still in the planning or construction phase, Populous has prepared visions of New Highmark Stadium for the Buffalo Bills, the spectacular Qiddiya Stadium in Saudi Arabia or the Nuovo stadio dell'Inter near Milan. The company is also working with Manchester City to transform Etihad Stadium, and in the near future we will get to know the details of the design of the new stadium for AS Roma.

Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca (|)Design of Grand Stade de Casablanca by Populous from 2011

Will collaboration be key to success?

Tarik Oualalou, co-founder of O+C, co-designer and Lead Architect on the French-Moroccan company's side assured [This stadium - editor’s note] It’s a generous space, open to the world and respectful to the Nature it protects. The Grand Stade de Casablanca is the embodiment of the great tradition of Moroccan hospitality.

For his part, President of Populous France François Clément, Lead Architect on the American company's side, announced that The Grand Stade de Casablanca is a cornerstone of King Mohammed VI’s vision to develop Morocco’s football infrastructure. (...) It will be an immense asset to the country, elevating Morocco to the highest global platform of sporting infrastructure development.

The US company's experience in football stadium design, as well as the French-Moroccan company's regional knowledge and familiarity with local projects, are promising. They could give Morocco not only the world's largest football facility, but also a spectacular, culturally fitting testament to the country's economic and sporting development.