The competition-winning design of the main stadium for the 17th Asian games in Incheon, in South Korea, illustrates a new level of sustainable design in stadia in Asia. The stadium will hold 70,000 people for the main event in 2014 and will reduce down to a single sided grandstand for 30,000 afterward as a People’s Park for the city of Incheon. The global architecture firm, Populous, formerly HOK Sport Venue Event, is designing Incheon stadium with local firm Heerim Architects and Planners.
Populous Senior Principal, Andrew James, said the key to the new stadium’s success, will be its operation in legacy mode.
“The stadium explores the successful marriage of temporary and permanent. The stadium design is based on an asymmetrical configuration with the main corporate and management facilities located on the permanent western side, creating efficiencies both in terms of construction and operations. The Eastern side will be a lighter solution, the temporary modular seating structure will disappear after the games, and the stadium structure integrate into the local landscape.”
This is a truly innovative concept, since it brings something new. It brings two functions together. The stadium with the games, and the main corporate and management facilities. What really caught my eye, is the poetry that the plan has. It grows gently from the ground, and it has a smooth transition from the walking paths, the squares, and all the nature integration, to the main objective, the stadium. I find that really interesting and appealing, it looks so comforting, and natural, it almost seems like it’s supposed to be there.
Symbolism is important to Korean culture. Populous project architect, Daekwon Park said the traditional Buddhist ritual Seung Moo dances, provided the image that reflected perfectly the drama of Incheon stadium – flowing form and space around dynamic movement.
“In architecture, as in dance, dynamic movement creates form, but can also be recognized by the space voids created around its form. The yin and yang of complementary opposites within a greater whole are represented inside the form of the master plan of the stadium, and the left over space around that form, becomes the main access to the building.”
The access to the main facility is so natural, so fluid, that it looks organic, it’s physically impossible to get lost, or to miss the entrance.
“The Seung Moo dancer extends his arms, the stick he is holding is almost a continuation of the long sweeping sleeves of his robes. The main stadium roof likewise extends; at one end leading to the main plaza, beckoning people in; at the other merging with the landscape, creating a singular fluid movement.“