ARCHI: The most beautiful seaside stadiums, for the love of the game

Euro 2016, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020, Dubai 2022… For every major encounter, architects outdo themselves and offer sport infrastructures even more unusual.

1/ A stone’s throw away from the ocean, the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron, assisted by Groupe 6 agency. This beacon of architectural functionality has been designed in order to host the UEFA Euro 2016 matches and accommodate the local team, the Bordeaux’s FC Girondin. Completed in April 2015, the stadium covers an area of 18.6 ha and can accommodate 42 115 spectators. The simplicity and flawlessness of its architecture, consisting of a rectangular roof supported by a forest of columns, blend in the scenery.

2/ Rio’s Olympic Park appears to be waterfront. Built on the seaside to host Rio’s 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, it takes place on the former Formula 1 racetrack of Barra da Tijuca. The company behind the infrastructures of London 2012 Olympics, AECOM, planned the development of Rio 2016 and its 34 competition venues.

3/ In 2003, the “Bird-nest” project from Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron has been chosen by the Chinese government to become the new National Stadium, heart of Beijing Olympics park in 2008. More than 45 000 tons of steel were required to complete the “twigs” of the outside weaving of the 25.8 hectares stadium.

4/ Even if the Japanese have chosen architect Kengo Kuma’s project (an oval stadium with a wooden roof on top), designers like Tokujin Yoshioka wanted to present their vision of what the Tokyo National 2020 stadium should be. With a circular water filled roof-top, the roof of Tokujin Yoshioka’s stadium, “The Floating Fountain”, bursts into a circle of flame with the arrival of the Olympic Flame.

5/ For Polish architect Kyrsztof Kotala (8+8 Concept Studio), Dubai would be the ideal location for building an underwater tennis court. Conceived close to Palm Islands, this submerged court, could be the missing superstructure from this city of architectural extravagance.

6/ Qatar is known for envisioning spectacular projects. Needless to say it can host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the most astonishing way. That is why SCAU Architects (Société de Conception d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme), which has designed the Velodrome Stadium of Marseille, has conceived the Stadium Square Qatar. Covering a 250 000 m² area, the Stadium Square would not only be a stadium but also a retail and living space in the city centre.

7/ Architect Philippe Bracco ( had also designed an infrastructure that meets the requirements for the Qatar 2022 event. The Doha Qatar Stade Football looks like a water lily on a pond. This stadium with 55 000 seats was envisioned to adapt to the country’s high temperature. The project includes air-conditioned seats and a roof made of carbon fibre petals, designed to open and shut depending on the climate conditions.

8/  Under construction, the Al-Watkrah Stadium, located south of Doha, has been designed by architect Zaha Hadid. Built in association with AECOM, the sports complex will have a capacity of 45 120 spectators and will feature cooling systems to allow athletes and the audience of Qatar 2022 to endure the summer heat of the country.

Translated by Sylvain Muller -