360 Architecture, a Kansas-based practice, is currently working on three separate sports projects in Iraq, including two new 30,000-seat soccer stadiums with practice facilities.
Commissioned by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the soccer stadia are located in Al-Menaa, a suburb of the southern city of Basrah, and the city of Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad. Both stadia will be constructed by Anwar Soura.
360 Architecture and Anwar Soura are also working on Basrah Sport City, a multi-use development under construction with 65,000 and 10,000-seat stadia.
“We are excited and honoured to serve the needs of the Ministry and partner with one of Iraq’s leading builders in Anwar Soura,” said George Heinlein, senior principal at 360 Architecture.
Abdullah Al Jiburi, Anwar Soura’s CEO, added: “We look forward to creating the new facilities to promote Iraq’s development of world-class athletes and sports programmes, and bring pride and unity back to their communities.”
The estimated construction cost of the Al-Menaa stadium is approximately $86 million while the Najaf stadium’s estimated construction cost is $83.75 million.
The concept for the Al-Menaa stadium reflects the culture and heritage of Basrah, which has a rich nautical tradition as Iraq’s port city. “The progressive design suggests the city’s historic association with the water,” said designer Ryan Gedney of 360 Architecture.
Gedney also noted that it was important for the Al-Menaa stadium to have its own distinct identity. While its exterior form stands out, a series of intimate and pedestrian-friendly park and public spaces tie the facility to the surrounding district.
The Najaf stadium reflects its location in one of Iraq’s most significant cities. Its features include a square exterior and Islamic influenced latticework, and resembles the Imam Ali Mosque in the heart of the city. Another important feature is its use of passive cooling towers – an economical and sustainable way to make the stadium’s concourse more comfortable.
“Though significantly different from each other, the two designs are based on the same philosophy of creating world-class facilities that uniquely fit their function and communities,” said Heinlein. “We believe this approach, combined with the fact that we’ve shown we can work effectively in Iraq, was convincing to the Ministry.”
The new Al-Menaa stadium is scheduled to be completed in October 2013 while the Najaf stadium’s completion date is currently unspecified.