An immersive journey though the unfamiliar

December 20, 2022

Designing an ‘out-of-this-world experience’ for a multi-arena sports development in China led Populous to create the Wuxi International Tennis Centre as an immersive, experiential journey for residents and visitors.

Located in the city of Jiangsu near Shanghai, the sports development will become an iconic destination of futuristic-looking valleys to juxtapose the high-density residential environment it sits within.

The curved design concept works to soften the surrounds while the entry plaza is inspired by natural landscapes of organic canyons and caves to give visitors an almost ‘unfamiliar’ feeling as they explore the site.

Populous Senior Principal and Director, Brett Wightman said the challenge was finding the best composition of all the components while creating a modern destination to live, work and play.

“The journey is the most important experience for users in this venue, it’s not just about having all the elements under one mass.

“We broke down the different arenas into individual spaces that merge into parklands to ensure the whole site is accessible from all areas and has flexible spaces and landscapes.

“The master plan and venue design made created a very iconic shape based on a natural organic curve,” Wightman said.

Open green space is included in the landscape plan for the wellbeing of the people in the surrounding residential buildings and the community sports facility will assist with their health and lifestyle and progression into competitive sports.

The client, Huafa Group is currently constructing the project and will be the operators when the multi-arena sports development is completed. Populous were directly appointed by the client to design the master plan, landscape plan and architectural concept designs of the tennis centre and taekwondo stadium.

This is the second project between the two parties after the design and delivery of Hengqin International Tennis Center in Zhuhai.

In 2022 the Wuxi International Tennis Centre received a Special Mention in the German Design Awards for “Excellence in Architecture Urban Space and Infrastructure.”


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