Basra Sports City, Iraq

Project: External cladding
Location: Main Stadium, Basra Sports City, Southern Iraq
Client: Ministry of Youth and Sport
Architect: HOK (360 Architecture)
Engineering Consultants: Thornton Tomasetti and others
Main Contractor: Abdullah Al-Jiburi
Handover: 2012

To promote growth and development in Iraq’s second city, a new 65,000 seat stadium – one of the largest in the region – was built as the hub of a world class multi-venue, mixed use sports complex on the fringes of Basra. The project’s ambition was boldly expressed on its exterior. The main stadium was enveloped with a stunning curtain wall of multidirectional curved composites – a vast ‘sculptural skin’ – that saw the architect’s vision transformed into reality with the help of BFG’s advanced engineering.

Designing the stadium in the shape of fronds from the trunk of the date palm, architects HOK wrapped it in a facade of 288 interwoven FRP panels, giving the oval-shaped structure a basket-like appearance. Echoing the patterned facades of traditional Iraqi homes, the textured skin also copes with the effects of the local climate.
In all, more than 48,000m2 of BFG’s advanced synthetic structural cladding was needed to encase the stadium, forming large double curvature panels each 32 x 6 metres and stacked five levels high, to interweave with steel support columns.

Constructed from an FRP outer surface with a Phenolic Impregnated Paper Honeycomb core and gelcoat finish, the panels met rigorous performance criteria to withstand the harsh local environment – in addition to high levels of fire resistance to BS476 Part 7.