PanStadia & Arena Management Magazine is the undisputed world leader for the business of stadia, arenas, sporting events and venues on a global scale.

Pattern picked to design Suoyu Bay Stadium

Architects Pattern Design have been chosen to design the Suoyu Bay Stadium in Dalian, China.

Pattern’s design for the spectacular 63,000-capacity stadium will host matches for the AFC Asian Cup in 2023.

The new Dalian stadium is located on an incredible site situated on the waterfront of Suoyu Bay, Ganjingzi, Dalian, a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning Province, North-East China.

The stadium will be part of a wider redevelopment for Ganjingzi called City Marina Park, a process that will include extending the metro line and the construction of an undersea tunnel which will connect the new development to Central Dalian.

The 26.5-hectare site is comprised of reclaimed and industrial land, situated right on the waterfront.

This unique location was instrumental in inspiring the design concept developed by Pattern. Envisaged as coloured ETFE, the façade produces a shimmering light, a quality that evokes sunlight reflecting on the ocean and seashells on the adjacent beaches.

The form of the building suggests three shell-like structures appearing to float and twist within each other. At night, the stadium is a spectacle of light, with the illumination reflecting off the sweeping building form and the ocean beyond.

The stadium includes a community sports park featuring outdoor training pitches that support the club’s youth academy, cycle routes and a running track that spirals up the stadium.

These features will make the stadium a major public destination and tourist area on the waterfront.

The incredible waterfront setting has inspired the proposal of a unique 1.6km walking and running route up the façade, akin to the Top Wonder at the Birds Nest, but on a larger scale with public space and amenities at the summit. As a result, visitors, on their way to the top, will be able to enjoy a wondrous spiral walking route where they can take in Barracuda Bay, Dalian City and the Dading, Jianzi and Baiyun Mountains.

At the summit, visitors can relax, relish the views and visit the café.

The venue is designed for Asia’s most prestigious football event in the AFC Asian Cup.

Dalian is one of 10 host cities set to share the event, alongside Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Qingdao, Xiamen and Suzhou.

In legacy, the stadium will be home to Dalian Pro FC who play in the top-tier of Chinese football, the Chinese Super League.

Pattern director Lindsay Johnston said:

We are honoured that our design won the Dalian stadium competition and was selected to host such a prestigious tournament. Following our recent successes of the FIFA World Cup Stadia in Qatar, we are excited to be working with the AFC on our first project in China.

The Client’s Principal Architect William Hailiang Chen added:

Among the three schemes developed by Pattern, HPP and HKS, Pattern’s scheme stood out instantly. It has imaginatively created a unique sense of place, one that elevates and emphasises the spirit of Dalian Harbour. The simple form and unforgettable vibrant blue facade echo the City’s deep-rooted and historic culture of football, a source of true pride for the City and its people.

Competition details:

  • The competition was run by Wanda Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate based in Beijing.
  • Pattern Design is the Architect, Interior Designer, Masterplanner and Lead Consultant.
  • Buro Happold is Structural, MEP and Civil Engineer.