But another thing that China is known for is it’s incredible sports stadiums. During the 2008 Olympics, China showed off “The Birdsnest,” it’s remarkable multipurpose sports complex that awed the world with it’s unique design. “The Watercube” housed the swim and dive competitions, again drawing praise for it’s beautiful design.
We all know, however, that the issues of sports and the environment, at least in China, are anything but disparate. One of the most talked about issues before the Beijing Olympics was the air quality - an issue only resolved when Beijing spent months reducing pollution in preparation for the games.
A new proposal for a stadium in Dalian, China, manages to redefine the essence of the stadium by opening it up to nature in a way that is quite like anything we’ve ever seen before. The Dalian Shide stadium, designed by NBBJ Architects (out of LA), takes into account far more than just sports. There are large cutouts in the walls at the ends of the stadium that open the stadium up to views of the city and the mountains behind it, as well as to the ocean. A large plaza at either end invites people into the space, helping integrate it into the surrounding city, rather than functioning as a closed event.
But by far the greatest aspect of the stadium, and the thing that makes it so truly unique is the enormous exterior walls that are entirely covered with living plants and grass. The effect is really that of having peeled back the earth to form a stadium.
As for more conventional green measures, solar panels and wind turbines in the walls will generate most of the power, and an extensive water collection system will be used for irrigation and plumbing. The pavement around the stadium will also be porous, preventing the runoff of chemicals and increasing filtration of rainwater.
This is a project that seems, to me at least, similar to the Dragonfly tower I brought up in a previous post about urban farming. Its huge scale and innovation make it seem like a thing of the distant future. But while that’s true certainly of the Dragonfly tower (unless they try to build it somewhere other than Manhattan maybe…), it isn’t necessarily the case with the Dalian Shide stadium. China has the space, the need, and perhaps most importantly, the government force to build a monument like this.
But what I admire most about the building is not how green it is. It’s the way it addresses multiple issues. It’s a building in tune with it’s surroundings, both in a direct, physical sense, as well as a global environmental sense, but it also takes into account people. By inviting people in, by creating a sense of community and pride around so iconic a structure, especially in a country as crucial and important as China, the Chinese government would be furthering the environmental movement in ways that no building in the United States or elsewhere possibly could.
Source: Inhabitat, NBBJ