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Architects Zaha Hadid unveil plans for iconic Xi’an football stadium

Plans for an iconic new 60,000-seat stadium in China’s ancient capital city of Xi’an have been unveiled ahead of its hosting role at the 2023 Asian Cup football tournament.

The proposals were released by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), with the company focusing on legacy operations such as domestic and international football matches and concerts, as well as the 2023 event. Xi’an is one of 10 host cities, with Beijing’s Worker’s Stadium having been demolished this week ahead of its redevelopment for the competition.


Serving a population of nine million, the football centre in Xi’an’s emerging Fengdong business district will also house youth training facilities. Ground was broken earlier this year on the wider ¥8.05bn ($1.1bn/€1bn) complex that will include the football stadium, retail space, hotels, a news media centre and conference facilities.

“Digital modelling has defined the geometry of the spectators’ seating bowl to optimise proximity and views to the field of play from all 60,000 seats, generating the most exciting atmosphere for football and ensuring an outstanding match experience for all players and spectators, “ Zaha Hadid said in a statement.

The stadium will feature a series of south-facing garden terraces and an ultra-lightweight cable-net roof structure sheltering spectators in the saddle-shaped seating bowl below.

To face Xi’an’s hot continental summer climate, a “wide perimeter roof overhangs shelter facilities within the building’s envelope while the large, shaded, open-air terraces and public concourses incorporate extensive planting on all levels”. In addition, a translucent membrane over the seating protects spectators from extreme weather conditions and direct sunlight, while allowing an abundance of natural light in the project.


China has pledged to build new stadia in seven of the 12 planned host cities for 2023 after it was awarded hosting rights in June last year.

As well as Xi’an and Beijing, football chiefs have also nominated Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan.

Minor renovation work is planned for Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ National Stadium, along with the Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium, Hangzhou Olympic Sports Expo Centre Main Stadium, Changsha’s Helong Sports Centre Stadium and Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Centre Stadium.


Images: Zaha Hadid Architects