MAD architects has recently moved into the construction phase of its 700,000 sqm sports campus in the historic city of quzhou, in china’s eastern coastal province of zhejiang. the design combines the functions of a sports park with natural, organic forms, resulting in a poetic landscape that falls somewhere between earth and mars.
the first and second phase of MAD‘s sports campus have a total construction area of approximately 340,000 sqm, and include: a stadium (30,000 seats), gymnasium (10,000 seats), natatorium (2,000 seats), national sports complex, outdoor sports venue, science & technology museum, hotel accommodations, youth center and retail programs. located in quzhou, a forest city with thousands of years of history, culture and philosophical ideas, the project expands as a surreal, etheral and tranquil landscape, ‘like a mirage, that has the potential to become a place of spiritual belonging for the future of the city.’
‘we dream not only of creating an urban space about sports and ecology, but also turning it into a unique land art park for the world, establishing a relationship between the city’s heritage and history of shanshui culture,’ notes ma yansong, founder and principal partner of MAD. surrounded by a dense forest of tall trees that seclude the site from the city, the campus takes the form of an extraterrestrial landscape, featuring a series of mountains and a lake conceived as a sunken garden. visitors move through the park drifting, climbing, and traversing the terrain, which culminates in the crater-shaped stadium. crowned by a translucent ‘halo’ that gently hovers above the ground like a floating cloud, the stadium stands as a spiritual metaphor, inviting people to engage in a dialogue between earth and sky. the adjacent rolling ‘hills’ on the northeast side form the gymnasium, natatorium, and training center, above which are public spaces and natural scenery that attract people to look up and pause in a moment of contemplation.
the interiors and exteriors of the buildings are connected to nature, providing an openness towards the landscape. pathways between the mountains and the lake encourage people to slowly walk around the park, run along the trails, or just enjoy a seat on the lawn to take in the scenery. natural light enters the buildings’ interior spaces through platforms or skylights, which also provide natural ventilation. the mountain-like exterior forms are covered in greenery, which while being energy-saving, are also human-scale and accessible.
the quzhou sports campus offers a unique outtake on the urban construction model of conventional large square landmarks, advocating a future where the harmonious relationship between man and nature takes center stage. ‘the relationship between man and nature is not only about ecology and sustainability, but it is also about spirit and mood,’ ma yansong points out, ‘this is the culture and philosophy that has long existed in the history of this land and needs to be applied in the development of our future cities.’