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    Completed $300m Incheon Asian Games stadium by Populous illustrates new level of sustainable stadia design

    Nathan Johnson

    The 2014 Incheon Asian Games will feature 439 events, 36 sports disciplines and one $300 million semi-demountable main stadium—an unprecedented design by Populous architects.

    Designed in association with Heerim Architects and Planners, the Incheon Asiad stadium illustrates a new level of sustainable design in Asian stadia. It will hold 60,000 people from 19 September – 4 October during the games, after which the stadium capacity will be reduced by half to form a single sided grandstand and People’s Park for the city of Incheon.  

    Brisbane-based Senior Principal for Populous, Andrew James, says that legacy and sustainability were the driving factors influencing the design of the now complete stadium in Incheon. 

    “We wanted to take a fresh look at the way we treat adaptable stadia in Incheon.Rather than considering how we could shrink a 60,000 seat stadium, we turned the idea on its head and thought let’s build a 30,000 seat stadium and add 30,000 temporary seats,” he said.

    Above: the stadium will hold 60,000 people during the Asian games. 
    Below: following their completion the stadium will be reduced to 30,000 seats and become a People's Park for the city. Images: Populous. 

    James explains that this approach proved advantageous because the reduction in permanent building size meant substantial savings in operational and maintenance costs.

    Moreover, the permanent seats could be sited in the optimal position for these sports, in this instance, in the West stand.

    While the cost savings may appeal to financiers, James suggests that the biggest advantage in the stadium design is its flexibility and cultural benefaction.

    “But the biggest advantage in the design is the freedom it provided in terms of legacy. The plans were always based on a community park, which after the Games, will replace the Eastern stand, forming a traditional stadium hill, with plazas on the north and south ends, providing atmospheric spectator viewing during a match, and a green space for the public to enjoy at all other times.”

    Above: the site in design phase
    Below: a site plan of the stadium and adjacent games facilities. Images: Populous. 

    The stadium design incorporates an asymmetrical configuration with the main corporate and management facilities located on the permanent western side. The Eastern side will be a lighter solution allowing the temporary modular seating structure to be relocated after the games and for the permanent stadium structure to integrate into the local landscape.

    Populous is no stranger to sports and entertainment architecture, with their designs featured at the London Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Rugby World Cups and a host of entertainment venues in Australia and New Zealand.

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