Pick of litter design firms for Morocco venue


Grand Stade de Casablanca seven groups pitching Image: BNN Network

Seven groups have been shortlisted for the design of the Grand Stade de Casablanca, which will cost nearly five billion dirhams.

‘dayFREURO’ stated that in the end, seven groups were selected during the first phase of the architectural competition for the Grand Stade de Casablanca. They were categorized as eligible without reservations. The competition was launched on October 24th. The future stadium must have a capacity of 115,000 seats, with a construction budget estimated at five billion dirhams.

The Grand Stade de Casablanca is a proposed title of the planned football stadium to be built just East of Casablanca in Benslimane (City in Morocco). Once completed in 2026, it will be used mostly for football matches and will serve as the home of the Morocco national football team. The stadium is planned with a capacity of 115,000 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Africa and the second largest in the world.

The Seven Groups

‘dayFREURO’ further stated that first of all, there is a group led by the architect Abdou Lahlou (architect in Casablanca, Morocco), who joins forces with the Swiss firm Herzog & De Meuron Basel Limited (design firm in Basel, Switzerland) but also the British engineering firm Mott Macdonald. The Swiss is known for having created several museums and art spaces, but also and above all the 75,024-capacity Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, residence of the Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich.

Secondly, Fikri Benabdallah Architectes (design firm in Rabat, Morocco) having decided to form an alliance with HPP Architekten GmbH (design firm in Düsseldorf, Germany), but also his friend and partner Rachid El Andaloussi (Moroccan). The group is also made up of the structural engineering company Thornton Tomasetti (US) and design firm Henderson Engineers (US). For HPP Architekten, a German firm which is behind the 37,000-capacity Pudong Football Stadium in China.

The third group is led by the Moroccan architect Tarik Oualalou, with the eminent design firm Populous (Kansas City, US), ME Engineers Limited (global mechanical and electrical engineering design firm in London, UK), Maffeis Engineering S.p.A (Solagna, Italy), and finally the English Rider Levett Bucknall UK Limited (global construction, property and management consultancy). It is thanks to Populous that the Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur F.C. now has its home ground – the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London (UK).

This is followed by the Moroccan firm Groupe 3 Architectes (design firm in Rouen, France), having joined forces with Foster + Partners Limited (British international architecture firm), but also Técnica y Proyectos S.A. (Typsa) (Spain) and the public design office Conseil Ingénierie et Développement (CID) (engineering firm in Morocco). Foster + Partners Limited, of English origin, are the designer firm of the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in Wembley (UK). In Morocco, Foster designed the Bab El Bahr real estate complex at the Salé Marina.

The designer of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima University Hospital Center in Morocco, the firm Atelier d’Architecture Hajji & El Ouali (Rabat, Morocco) is also present, alongside the German agency GMP Architects.

The author of the proposal for the Grand Stadium of Casablanca for the 2026 World Cup bid file, the Spaniard Cruz y Ortiz is present.

Finally, the last group is that headed by the Moroccan architect Jaouad Khattabi, with his team the international architectural firm Zaha Hadid.

The US-based architectural giant Gensler has been excluded and will not continue with the adventure.

Architectural Statement

‘bnn’ stated that in the heartland of North Africa, Morocco is poised to make an architectural statement of grandeur that will echo across the continent and beyond. The Grand Stade de Casablanca is a project that is set to transform the country’s sports infrastructure landscape and mark a new chapter in its football history.

A Vision of Grandeur

The project, spearheaded by the National Society for the Construction and Management of Sports Facilities (Sonarges) and the National Agency for Public Facilities (ANEP), envisions a state-of-the-art stadium with a seating capacity of 115,000. With a budget capped at five billion DH, this will be a venue unlike any other in North Africa, adhering to the latest international football standards.

Casablanca (Morocco)-based the National Society for the Construction and Management of Sports Facilities (Sonarges) is a society that manages and operates sports facilities. Sonarges is also known as the National Society for Stadium Delivery and Management.

‘bnn’ further stated that the selected location for this colossal structure is in the province of Benslimane, a strategic midpoint between Casablanca and Mohammedia, and is in close proximity to the airport. The 100-hectare site offers enough room not just for the stadium but also for other associated facilities, potentially paving the way for a comprehensive sports complex.

More Than Just A Stadium

The Grand Stade de Casablanca is not just about football, though it is a symbol of Morocco’s ambitions on the global sports stage and a testament to the country’s commitment to enhancing its sports infrastructure. Beyond serving as a venue for football matches, the stadium is envisioned as a multifunctional hub capable of hosting a variety of sporting events and activities.

The benefits of the stadium extend beyond the confines of its walls. The project is expected to boost Morocco’s reputation as a sports destination, attract international events, stimulate the local economy, and create jobs. The arena’s capacity will also allow Morocco to host large-scale events, showcasing its capabilities as a host nation.

Challenges Ahead

However, the path to realizing this vision is riddled with challenges. The sheer scale and complexity of building a stadium of this magnitude require meticulous planning and execution. The project management team will need to ensure efficiency and adherence to the highest quality standards. Furthermore, the substantial budget underlines the necessity for the project to be financially viable in the long run.

In conclusion, the Grand Stade de Casablanca represents Morocco’s aspirations to elevate its sports infrastructure and make a mark on the global stage. It is a testament to the country’s commitment to sports, tourism and economic growth. However, the success of this ambitious project hinges on careful planning, efficient execution and financial sustainability. As Morocco embarks on this journey, the world watches in anticipation of what promises to be an architectural marvel and a landmark of North African sports.

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