Xiamen Egret Stadium
|53 443 (track and field configuration)|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Cost||CNY 8.53 B ($1.176 B)|
|Design||China Architecture Design and Research Institute|
|Contractor||China Construction Eighth Engineering Bureau|
Xiamen Egret Stadium – stadium description
How was Xiamen Egret Stadium built?
How did the construction of Xiamen Egret Stadium come about?
In early 2019, the Xiamen authorities included the construction of a new stadium in the city's expansion plans. Initial plans called for the construction of a multi-purpose facility with an athletics track, capable of accommodating 60,000 spectators. At the same time, Xiamen was seeking to host the 2023 Asian Cup football matches, which China wanted to organise.
In June 2019, China was officially announced as the host of the 2023 Asian Cup. At the end of the year, the Chinese football federation announced the 10 cities that were to host matches of the tournament. Xiamen was also included in the list. In connection with the organisation of the event, plans were changed for the construction of the already planned new stadium, which was to be enhanced with movable stands to allow conversion from an athletics venue to a football-specific stadium.
When was Xiamen Egret Stadium built?
Responsible for the design of the new stadium in Xiamen was the China Architecture Design and Research Institute. On July 3, 2020, the tender for the construction of the stadium was won by China Construction Eighth Engineering Bureau. The stadium was to be part of a larger sports complex and was to be a major component of it. The contractor entered the site on July 26, 2020. One month later, on August 26, 2020, the first pile was driven for the new stadium, with the official start of construction.
Due to the rather ambitious, non-standard design and complex technical solutions, the realisation of the stadium was a challenge. On March 10, 2022, a dangerous-looking fire also occurred on the construction site.During the construction, there was also the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with, one of the consequences of which was China's withdrawal from hosting the Asian Cup in May 2022. Xiamen Egret Island FC, which was promoted to China League Two (3rd level of competition) in 2020, was expected to be the future host of the new stadium in Xiamen, but the team was disbanded after the 2021 season. The stadium was scheduled to be completed in December 2022, but the work was extended by about six months. The cost of building the entire complex was 8.53 billion yuan.
When did Xiamen Egret Stadium open?
On August 2, 2023, it was officially announced that Xiamen's new stadium would host the annual one-day athletics meeting, included in the prestigious Diamond League series, for the next 10 editions. Xiamen has been chosen to replace Shanghai, where the Diamond League's meetings were the only ones in East Asia to be held from 2010 to 2019 (in 2020, the redevelopment of Shanghai Stadium into a football-specific venue began – also in connection with the 2023 Asian Cup – so that it lost its athletics track).
As the first Diamond League meeting in Xiamen was already scheduled to take place on September 2, 2023, the necessary acceptance and a test competition without the public were carried out in August. The meeting held on September 2 was also the inauguration of the new stadium.
What are the characteristics of the Xiamen Egret Stadium?
Where is the Xiamen Egret Stadium located?
Xiamen's new stadium was built in the mainland eastern district of Xiang'an. The facility stood on the shore of the bay, where Xiamen Island, the city center, is located on the opposite side. At the same time as the new sports complex, the Xiamen International Expo Center and a new bridge connecting Xiang'an district to Xiamen Island were also being built nearby. To make room for the development, 549 houses were demolished.
What does the sports complex around Xiamen Egret Stadium consist of?
In addition to the main stadium, the entire complex consists of an indoor arena with a capacity of 18,000 spectators and an indoor swimming pool with a 5,000-seat auditorium, with a smaller sports hall in between, and all three facilities connected by a common roof. A training athletics track, small playing fields and tennis courts, recreational areas, paths, access roads and car parks, as well as greenery and landscaping complete the complex.
What does Xiamen Egret Stadium look like?
All the main sports facilities of the complex are covered by a white canopy and façade. Motifs characteristic of local culture and conditions are woven into the architecture of the buildings. Halls and the swimming pool, lined up in a row, are meant to resemble the petals of bougainvillea flowers, and the stadium itself is, symbolically, an egret taking flight. The facilities also incorporate features of traditional construction from the southern Fujian area.
Crucial to achieving the desired original silhouette of the stadium roof are the two giant steel arches running above it. The final sections of the roof sheathing were made of transparent ETFE membrane. Under the roof, floodlights, sound system components and two video screens have been installed.
Although the building is characterised by a compact, coherent form, some asymmetries can be discerned. The stands of the upper and middle tiers behind the southern curve of the running track have a gap, revealing an arcade created between the bases of the steel arches, and the whole building is slightly lowered at this point. There is also an unevenness between the two huge arches (the western one is 8 meters higher, allowing more wind to enter through the opening in the roof, thus providing better ventilation).
The main stand of the stadium is on the west side. The auditorium is equipped with plastic seats forming a mosaic consisting mainly of shades of blue, but also of white or purple. On the top floor, the seats are arranged in patterns of egrets, shown in various stages of flight.
What unique solution is used at Xiamen Egret Stadium?
The stadium's stands are divided into three tiers, with the second and third tiers being permanent, and the lowest tier being made up of mobile modules, allowing the configuration to be changed from football to athletics and vice versa. It is the third stadium in the world to allow the layout of the stands to be changed relatively freely from football to athletics (after Stade de France and Singapore National Stadium).
In athletics mode, the movable stands are moved backwards, freeing up space for the running track. In football mode, the structures are brought closer to the pitch and a platform is created behind them, where additional rows of spectators are set up, increasing the seating capacity by more than 7,000 spectators (in the athletics layout, the capacity of the arena is 53,443 spectators, while in the football formula 60,592 fans can enter the stadium). It takes one week to change the configuration of the stands.
The stadium has high-quality standards and is suitable for the organisation of world-class sporting and cultural events.