Sasaki reveals design to transform Hongkou Stadium



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Hongkou Stadium Image: Sasaki

Design firm Sasaki has unveiled a design to transform Shanghai’s Hongkou soccer stadium into a sustainable health and wellness hub. Rethinking China’s first professional soccer stadium, the project aims to bring new life into the 1990s single-purpose structure, ArchDaily reported.

The design was formed by addressing the lack of connection between the stadium and Luxun Park. As a result, the park’s landscape is extended through the stadium and rises to meet the landscape as it flows through the building.

Located along Hongkou District’s major north-south green corridor, the stadium is accessible via public transit, including an elevated light rail and underground subway. Currently, however, the stadium remains isolated. It sits empty on non-game days, and offers limited connections to the vibrant cultural and commercial context which surrounds it. Underutilized space around the stadium and underneath the adjacent elevated light rail line presents an opportunity to stitch back into the urban fabric of the district, the report said.

Thinking beyond the stadium itself, one of the most significant design interventions is the creation of the Midline – an elevated park built upon the infrastructure of the light rail corridor. Connecting Hongkou’s university district to the north with the cultural and commercial districts to the south, the Midline is an iconic recreational spine for the city. The 2.2 kilometer first phase of the Midline provides uninterrupted pedestrian and bicycle access and links surrounding neighborhoods with a variety of community recreational uses within the stadium. At street level, new shops and restaurants embrace the entrance to the subway and activate the stadium’s main plaza and podium.

In addition to the new commercial and community recreational program, the stadium’s capacity will be expanded by 15,000 seats, accommodating a total of 50,000 spectators in an optimized seating arrangement. The integrity of the existing structural components of the stadium have been thoughtfully respected in the new design, according to the report.

A significant portion of the existing structure remains – including its core column grid – with new supports seamlessly integrated. The renovated stadium has 9 levels, each providing traditional functions like concessions and restrooms, while incorporating a diversity of new experiences including a soccer museum, VIP clubs, community recreation facilities, and a cantilevered restaurant that offers 360 degree views of the field, the adjacent park, and the Shanghai skyline. Rooftop gardens and outdoor concourses are open to the public, extending access from the adjacent park.

By positioning the stadium as a community asset, its renovation reaches far beyond its original function. Many stadiums serve the single purpose of hosting sporting events, resulting in an empty building during non-game days and in the off-season.

Hongkou Stadium reimagines the arena as a multi-functional complex that fulfills the demands of large events while also serving as a unique public space for all citizens. With the main concourse integrated as an extension of Luxun Park, the stadium supplements the landscape with vistas across the park to the city beyond. Symbolizing competitiveness and sportsmanship, the two opposing rings of the new structure redistribute existing functions and create new ones.

Together, the stadium’s new landscapes increases Luxun Park’s size by 36 percent, adding more active recreational uses and re-positioning Hongkou Stadium as icon for Shanghai’s growing passion for sports, health, and wellness.

More details on the project will be revealed at the forthcoming Coliseum Summit ASIA-PACIFIC, May 15-16, 2019, Beijing, China.

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