top of page

King Abdullah Sports Centre

Pelli Clarke Pelli Archiects

Saudi Arabia

Picture 014.jpg

Imagine a cool spring evening in the desert north of Jeddah, a few years from today. King Abdullah Sports City is humming with excitement as national team, the Green Falcons, readies itself to welcome England for a friendly international football match. Supporters stream toward the Main Stadium from all directions, alive with national pride. The new Stadium has quickly became an icon recognized the world over, a symbol of the kingdom´s athetic prowess: seven wings swirling araund a perfect circle, a dynamic and exciting global symbol. As the sky fades from orange to pink to deep blue, the wings of the Sradium´s canopy star to glow, drawing people in and then arcing skyward, each shape reminiscent of a free kick bending toward the corner of the goal. Kickoff, the crowd swells, and another chapter in Saudi sport history opens...


Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is honored to present its vision for the main Stadium at King Abdula Sports City. The design is iconic, comtemporary, and uniquely expressive of its place, time, and culture. It is also highly constructable and very funtional. In its dramatic, uplifing forms, it creaters and image of dynamism that captures the Kingdom´s vital spirit, heralding to the world the nation´s pride and athletic aspirations-an Architecture as dynamic as the game it houses.

The Stadium´s canopy is characterized by seven lofted thin structures-wings- that swirl araund and hover above a podium (the "rock plinth"), curving upward as they encircle the stadium seating and playing field bellow. As a group, the wings create a powerful sence of place-lightly reflective during the day an warmly glowing at night, the scultural composotion organizes the landscape, drawing it together and making it as a place of pride.

Designing the Main Stadium a KASC will require a special combination of poetic expression and intelligent engeneering. Developing our proposal led us to study many sources, including the powerful form of the Falcon in flight; the marine life of the Red Sea, specially schools of fish; the flowers of the Arabian Peninsula; and images of sports. The seven wings emerged from the research, not as a direct quotation of any single source, but rather as evocative of them all. The scultural composition is intended to inspire multiple, plasing interpretations.

Given the project´s ambitious schedule, it is clear that design must be eminently buildable, employing familiar technologies and straghtforward structural systems. Working closely with our partners Arup New York and Gehry Technologies, we have indentified reliable methods to achieve these goals. While the Stadium´s wings appear to defy gravity, they are supported very rationally and clad very simple-a solution that is at once dramatic and achievable.

Picture 011.jpg
Picture 012.jpg
Picture 013.jpg
Picture 0145.jpg
Picture 010.jpg
info 003.jpg
info 001.jpg
info 002.jpg
info 004.jpg
bottom of page