The Rock Stadium in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi has been nominated for a design award to be held in London. Up for the prize of 'Future Building' the stadium is a stunning example of how forward thinking architects increasingly look to build sustainability into the design of a stadium.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and sometimes the solution is right in front of you all along. When architect Marwan Zgheib, founder of Lebanese firm MZ Architects first surveyed the area it was with the brief to design a stand alone stadium, but while assessing the geology and positioning of the site it became apparent that it was perfect for a structure that could be dug into the rock and sunken to utilise natural shadows to minimise glare and reduce cooling costs.
What is more, the homogenous nature of the locally excavated materials would lend themselves to a uniform structure that looks both ancient and futuristic and have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
The 40,000 seat stadium, which is up for a prize at the World Architecture Festival Awards borrowed from the ancient Greeks who built stadia by cutting them out of cliff-faces and excavating downwards, the most famous of which is the Ancient Greek Theatre at Taormina, Sicily.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty