CHALLENGE. The Nanjing Sports Park is one of the largest athletic venue projects ever completed in Asia. The main facilities include a 60,000 seat stadium, 11,000 seat arena, natatorium, tennis center and media centre. It was completed in 2005, by the Jiangsu Government for the 10th China National Games – the biggest single sporting event held in China. The challenge was to create an iconic development for the Games that would also leave a legacy; a “People’s Place, and a dynamic destination point. The further challenge of a green field site meant an architecturally strong precinct was required, to reflect the historical and cultural significance of Nanjing but it must also become an integrated and harmonious part of the development of the city. It would also provide the highest level of public amenities and activity, so that people wanted to go there, twenty four hours a day.
INNOVATION. Situated on a riverfront site, the sports buildings are grouped closely together with 35 percent of the precinct made up of Park space. The sport buildings within the complex were designed concurrently which provided the opportunity to create a central theme across all buildings and implement a range of design efficiencies for the complex. Access to the buildings is by an elevated podium linking the buildings together. This podium enables the park to be used as a recreational facility regardless of the events occurring in the sports buildings, because spectators can circulate between the facilities without needing to enter the park area.
Placing the buildings close together and designing them concurrently also enabled the planning and architectural team to separate pedestrian and vehicular flow. The basements of each building are linked and servicing can be carried out on all buildings at the same time. The centralized servicing is particularly significant when the facilities are used for a major event such as the China National Games.
IMPACT. The Nanjing Sports Park has become the model for future sports park developments throughout China. The precinct, within a park setting, forms the centerpiece of a new downtown region, a catalyst of future urban development.
Six years on, it prospers as one of China’s most commercially sustainable and vibrant integrated sport destinations. The main stadium hosts regular football games, the Swimming Centre hosts 10,000 visitors on a hot summer day, but most popular is the ice skating rink under the main gymnastics hall which attracts an endless stream of families with young children. New restaurants, an outdoor beach and fishing facilities are now among the myriad of other attractions at the Park.
Nanjing Sports Park has also demonstrated the significance that Governments are placing on the value of sport and its impact on a community. Sport can help generate goodwill among the population when developing a new city.