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Populous-designed Incheon Asiad Main Stadium to host opening and closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games

The Populous-designed Incheon Asiad Main Stadium will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 17th Asian Games to be held in Incheon from September 19 until October 4, 2014. The stadium will also host all athletic events during the Games.


The stadium for the 17th Asian Games was designed by international sports specialists Populous in association with local firm Heerim Architects and Planners, and illustrates a new level of sustainable design in stadia in Asia.


The multipurpose stadium will hold 60,000 people during the Games and will reduce down to a single-sided grandstand for 30,000 in legacy mode as a People’s Park for the city of Incheon.


Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in its post-Games legacy mode for soccer. Images courtesy: Incheon Asian Games + Populous.

Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in its post-Games legacy mode for soccer. Images courtesy: Incheon Asian Games + Populous.

Legacy and sustainability were the driving factors in designing the stadium in Incheon, as Populous’ Senior Principal, Andrew James, explains:

We wanted to take a fresh look at the way we treat adaptable stadia in Incheon.

Rather than considering how we could ‘shrink’ a 60,000-seat stadium, we turned the idea on its head and thought let’s build a 30,000-seat stadium and add 30,000 temporary seats.

This approach provided multiple advantages. Financially it reduced the building by two thirds meaning there are substantial savings in operational and maintenance costs. Secondly, it meant the permanent seats could be sited in the optimal position for these sports, in this instance, in the West stand.

But the biggest advantage in the design is the freedom it provided in terms of legacy. The plans were always based on a community park, which after the Games, will replace the Eastern stand, forming a traditional stadium hill, with plazas on the north and south ends, providing atmospheric spectator viewing during a match , and a green space for the public to enjoy at all other times.

If the social legacy is achieved in the way it was originally planned, I think the world will sit up and notice that Korea is leading the way in delivering a sports’ project with a real defined legacy.


Symbolism is important to Korean culture, dance and music are part of everyday life. The traditional Buddhist ritual dance, the Seung Moo Monk dance, provided the image that reflected perfectly the architectural drama of Incheon stadium – flowing form and space around dynamic movement.

About Populous:
Populous is the global award-winning sports and entertainment architecture practice that specialises in creating environments that draw people and communities together for unforgettable experiences. Over the past 40 years, the company has completed more than 2,000 projects around the globe with construction value exceeding US$30bn. These include stadia, arena, racecourses, convention and exhibition centres and the Overlay or Operational planning for events such as the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl. Populous has designed some of the world’s most famous and recognisable sporting and entertainment venues, including Philippine Arena, the Sochi 2014 Fisht Stadium, London 2012 Olympic Stadium, Sydney 2000 Stadium, the MCG Redevelopment and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Yankee Stadium in New York, Nanjing Sports Park in China and Wembley Stadium and Emirates Stadium in London.

The company is currently working on a wide variety of projects globally, such as Darling Harbour Live, the new Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Bhubaneswar Convention Centre in India, French Rugby Federation (FFR), several projects in Russia around the the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Populous has more than 500 employees in offices around the globe with major offices in Brisbane, London and Kansas City.

SAE Asia Pacific 2014 red box

Populous is a Presenting Sponsor for next week’s must-attend Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event taking place at the Singapore Sports Hub, 24-26 September. The practice’s Brett Wightman will outline the Populous-designed Philippine Arena – the world’s largest capacity indoor arena – during the conference’s “Regional Projects Spotlight”, with Andrew Noonan and Matt Reynolds to discuss the changing nature of arenas during the “Global Project Showcase”.

The full conference programme, including delegate registration, speaker, exhibitor and sponsor details can be found online at: