China Construction Design International

For the 2010 China National Games, China Construction Design International designed a group of sports facilties that sets a new precedent for integrating large venues into the complex and ever-changing fabric of cities. The city of Jinan in Shandong Province asked CCDI to help it develop a complex of world-class sports facilities that would rival those in Beijing yet serve multiple purposes after the National Games are over. To do this, the firm accommodated future commercial-retail spaces within the vast complex and connected it to a nearby government headquarters to create a mixed-use campus that forms the dynamic heart of this developing part of the city.

The sports center is comprised of four major venues: a 154,000 square-meter main stadium on the western side that holds 58,000 spectators, and on the east, a 59,000-square-meter gymnasium, a 40,000-square-meter aquatics center, and a 30,000-square-meter tennis center.

The guiding principle was what the architects call “humanistic design at a gigantic scale.” The two goals may seem irreconcilable, since the size of the structures might easily overwhelm visitors and produce alienating spaces. But the architects and engineers at CCDI met this challenge by making structural elements as thin and light as possible and creating external truss systems that give the buildings the sense of floating just above the ground. The designers derived the stadium’s truss system from the image of a willow tree, the official tree of Jinan City. And they took inspiration for the gymnasium from Jinan’s official flower, the lotus, so the structure appears to peel away like flower petals.