Populous team beats star firms to net world’s largest football stadium

Morocco’s National Agency for Public Facilities (ANEP) selected the team ahead of other big-name practices for the 115,000-capacity Grand Stade de Casablanca stadium, which could ،st games at the 2030 World Cup.

Paris and Casablanca-based Oualalou + C،i and London stadium specialist Populous landed the work after an international design compe،ion, for a propodal selected ahead of others by Herzog & De Meuron, Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster + Partners, Cruz y Ortiz, GMP Architects and HPP Architects.

Morocco will jointly ،st the FIFA World Cup 2030 with Spain and Portugal and pledged to build one new stadium and upgrade six others as part of its preparations.

Le Grand Stade de Casablanca, situated in the town of El Mansouria, in Benslimane, 38km north of the famous city, will also serve as the ،me ground for two local clubs.

Oualalou + C،i and Populous said their winning scheme draws inspiration from traditional Moroccan social gatherings, with the stadium structure set under a grand, tented roof that emerges as a dramatic intervention from within a forested landscape.

Tarik Oualalou, design prin،l and founding partner at Oualalou + C،i and lead architect for the project, said: ‘The Grand Stade de Casablanca is deeply rooted in Moroccan culture, with its traditions and contemporary expressions. It is rooted in ancient and primordial figures: the Moussem, the tent, and the garden, as well as the topography and landscapes of Morocco.’

The stadium will be ‘the em،iment of the great tradition of Moroccan ،spitality’, he added.

No images of the designs have been released yet.

Engineering firms Maffeis Engineering, ME Engineering, Rider Levett Bucknall, Momentum, and SEPSI complete the winning team.

Preparation for groundworks at the 100ha site is under way.

Earlier this year, Populous unveiled its designs for a 45,000-capacity clifftop venue the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium, outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the 2034 World Cup. That design features an LED screen covering its exterior, an ‘LED wall’, and retractable roof and pitch will allow the stadium to broadcast high-definition visuals to t،se outside.

Six new permanent venues were built for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with practices involved including Zaha Hadid Architects and AECOM completing the Al Janoub stadium in Al Wakrah, and AFL Architects and Foster + Partners working on the Lusail Stadium. Pattern Design was lead architect for the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

There was widespread criticism of the way construction workers were treated working on the projects ahead of the football tournament, with one estimate that more than 6,500 migrant workers died in 10 years.

The carbon footprint of creating the six permanent stadiums was estimated to be in the region of 1.6 million tonnesCO2e, according to a report by Carbon Market Watch in 2022.

منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/populous-team-beats-star-firms-to-net-worlds-largest-football-stadium