after a closed international competition, UNStudio has revealed the winning masterplan for the korean national football centre in seoul. the design by the dutch architectural firm, together with amsterdam’s johan cruijff arena, celebrates the history as well as future of football in the asian country. at the same time, though, it enhances the ‘total football’ philosophy from the netherlands, bringing a distinct focus on health, wellness, science, technology and education into the facilities which appear as innovative in structure as they are in sports science.


the netherlands is a very proud footballing nation,’ explains ben van berkel, founder & principal architect. ‘we have many top players and trainers in teams all over the globe. as the inventors of total football, to us football is not just a sport; it’s an expression of culture, a science and a philosophy. football brings people together, it provides them with a sense of comradery, of belonging and of national pride.

unstudio korean national football centre
image by brick visual (also main image)



on a 450,427 square meter site located in cheonan-shi, chungnam-do, UNStudio’s design for the korean national football centre houses two stadiums – one indoor and one outdoor – and over a dozen sports field typologies, natural running tracks and indoor gymnasiums. these are all closely linked with numerous specialist sports medics and treatment centers. as the focal point for the plan, the central public plaza is enclosed by a variety of restaurants, shops and public sport facilities as well as three key pieces of architecture: the museum, indoor stadium and outdoor stadium. the masterplan also features a high-end hotel with lounge areas, spa, sauna and wellness center to offer spaces for players to rest and relax between training.

unstudio korean national football centre
image by brick visual



the planned state-of-the-art facilities will be home to the korean national team and their trainers as well as for future generations of top league players. this includes both the men’s and women’s team and also the youth squads. it is hoped that the center will help foster future careers at the highest level. the complex has also been designed to become a destination for football fans eager to use the facilities as well as to learn the story of korean football.

unstudio korean national football centre
image by brick visual



the design of the facilities are led by sports innovation focusing on health, wellness, science and technology. to start, it builds upon the knowledge and experience of the johan cruijff arena in amsterdam, which is seen as a role model for modern stadium construction, operation and innovation concepts. this knowledge, together with in-depth insight provided by an international team of experts in sports science and digital data collection, helped form the essential elements and must-haves for the design.

'total football' guides UNStudio's design of korean national football centre in seoul
masterplan | image courtesy of UNStudio



project info:


client: korea football association (KFA)

location: cheonan-shi, chungnam-do, korea

building site: 450,427 sqm

program: campus masterplan and urban branding strategy, 1 outdoor stadium with management facilities (1000-1500 seats), 1 indoor stadium with support facilities, the national team health and resort facility, museum for korean football, supporting training fields and recreation, youth hostel and retail.

status: 1st place competition entry

UNStudio team: ben van berkel, gerard loozekoot with harlen miller, crystal tang, and suhan na, luigi olivieri, zirong zhao

advisors: amsterdam arena – stadium logistics and sports science: henk markerink, sander van stiphout, max reckers

visualizations: brick visual