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zaha hadid architects' terraced stadium echoes hangzhou tea farms

the competition-winning design by zaha hadid architects


Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) unveils the winning design for the new Hangzhou International Sports Centre in China. The project incorporates a 60,000-seat football stadium and practice pitches, and further includes a 19,000-seat indoor arena as well as an aquatics centre with two 50-meter pools. Located within Hangzhou’s Future Science and Technology Cultural District, the sports centre establishes a new riverfront park and public plazas with direct access to Lines three and five of the city’s expanding metro network.


One of the world’s leading centers of e-commerce, Hangzhou is home to many of China’s largest technology companies which attract IT professionals and entrepreneurs from across the country to live and work in the city.

zaha hadid hangzhouvisualizations by Atchain@atchain



a new sports center for a growing hangzhou


The new International Sports Centre is designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to accommodate Hangzhou’s growing population. The architects include a variety of facilities for athletes ranging from grassroots to professional. The compact design of each venue, together with their orientation and composition, allows almost half of the site to be transformed into new public spaces for the city. Integral to the district’s urban plan and the natural landscapes along the riverbank, the centre incorporates new parks and gathering places for events, recreation and relaxation.


As the largest venue within the center, the 135,000 square-meter football stadium is situated on the eastern side of the new park to face the city. Located to the west and south of the stadium, the indoor arena and aquatics center are connected to the stadium by the center’s layered podium that weaves through the site.

zaha hadid hangzhou



a striated architecture drawn from a stepped landscape


The sculptural architecture of Zaha Hadid’s Hangzhou sports center is informed by the terracing of the tea farms on Hangzhou’s surrounding hillsides. This influence takes shape as a striated, 45,000 square-meter podium which houses ancillary facilities that are shared between the venues including training and fitness halls, locker rooms, offices as well as shops, restaurants and cafes overlooking the podium’s courtyard and terraces.


Unlike the solid façades of most stadiums, the façade of the Hangzhou International Sports Centre’s stadium is open to the exterior with louvres sheltering terraces that host a variety of retail spaces opening out toward sweeping views across Hangzhou.

zaha hadid hangzhou



Designed to FIFA standards, the stadium’s seating bowl is configured to bring spectators as close as possible to the field of play and ensure excellent, unrestricted views from every seat, creating an intense match-day atmosphere for players on the pitch and fans seated throughout the stadium. These programmatic requirements define geometries that are expressed as undulations within the louvred façade.


The stadium’s louvred façade blurs the boundary between interior and exterior. The louvres’ materiality and detailing give the stadium a stratified, geological appearance of solidity when viewed from nearby. When viewed from a distance, the louvred façade becomes transparent, connecting the public spaces beneath the stadium’s seating bowl with the city.

zaha hadid hangzhou



environmental sustainability


Located within the warm temperate climate of Hangzhou, the International Sports Centre has been designed to the highest 3-Star rating of China’s Green Building Program with each venue providing optimal conditions using natural hybrid ventilation most of the year.


Annual solar irradiation analysis has determined the composition of the façade’s external louvres while photovoltaics will harvest solar power for all venues. Ground heat exchange and recovery systems will ensure the most efficient operations of all facilities.

zaha hadid hangzhou




The centre’s landscaping establishes wetlands along the riverbank that are integral to the district’s drainage network. Collecting and channelling rain and grey-water for filtration and re-use, this network uses aquatic flora and fauna native to the region to naturally remove contaminants.


To reduce the embodied carbon throughout the project, ZHA’s optimization processes minimize the amount of materials required for the structure and are integrated with local supply chains and procurement systems that have been developed to increase the recycled and recyclable content.




In contrast to the single-use programming of most large stadiums that only welcome visitors on match days and act as an obstruction to the city’s urban fabric when not in use, the many varied sporting, recreational and leisure facilities of Hangzhou International Sports Centre, in addition to its public plazas and riverfront park, ensure the center will be a popular gathering place for its community throughout each day and evening.

zaha hadid architects' terraced stadium echoes hangzhou tea farms




project info:


project title: Hangzhou International Sports Centre

architecture: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) @zahahadidarchitects

location: Hangzhou, China

design: Patrik Schumacher
project director: Charles Walker, Nils Fischer
project associate: Jakub Klaska, Lei Zheng
competition team: Joshua Anderson, Daniel Boran, Chun-Yen Chen, Hung-Da
Chien, Michael Forward, Matthew Gabe, Rupinder Gidar, Jinqi Huang, Charlie Harris, Ivan Hewitt, Han Hsun Hsieh, Sonia Magdziarz, Xin Swift, Chris Whiteside
sports consultant: Clive John Lewis

lighting: Lichtvision Design Ltd.

visualizations: Atchain@atchain

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