King Abdullah Sports City Stadium (Al-Jawhara Stadium)

Capacity60 241
486 (VIP seats)
308 (Disabled seats)
23,473 (Lower tier)
22,244 (Middle tier)
14,038 (Upper tier)
Country Saudi Arabia
CityJeddah
ClubsAl-Ahli SC, Ittihad Football Club of Jeddah
Inauguration 01/05/2014 (Al-Ahli - Al-Shabab, 0-3)
Construction 09/2011 - 10/2014
Cost $533 million
Design Arup Associates
Contractor Al-Muhaidib & Sons, BESIX

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Description: King Abdullah Stadium

Erection of Jeddah’s new sports centre was announced in a king’s decree in 2009, suggesting the city will again celebrate sport’s role in society. Initial plans envisaged a main stadium for 100,000 people and numerous other buildings spread over 900 hectares. In 2011 the plan was severely downscaled. The surface was reduced to 300 hectares, stadium capacity to 60,000, while secondary amenities limited to an athletic stadium, 2,000-capacity indoor arena, training pitches and a mosque.

The entire complex was rethought to be fitted into a large circle with the main stadium at its heart. Location between Jeddah’s two major highways makes road access the most preferred one and demand is to be properly addressed by over 25,000 parking spaces spreading radially around the stadium.

The stadium itself hasn’t been built along the traditional north-south axis. Instead, it was rotated by some 45 degrees west to best address local climate: provide shade and improve natural ventilation from the nearby Red Sea.

Symbolically the stadium put at the heart of a large circle should be exposed like a gem. By day its surface reflects the sun and natural colours used over the façade resemble those of beach sands. By night the stadium glitters and can be seen even from large distances with light coming out through the largely perforated cladding. Geometrical decorative pattern represents local crafts, though the stadium was designed by foreign engineers, the global office Arup.

The 60,000+ stands are divided into three very compact tiers. This ensures all fans have very good view of the pitch, while roof girders are ‘only’ 60 meters long and still cover all spectators.

Despite the impressive size it took only 14 months to deliver the stadium, which was ready in early 2014. To achieve this amazing pace there were some 8,000 workers on three shifts. Official opening took place on May, 2014. Sell-out crowd watched the domestic cup final with a stunning arts and firework show.

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