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The Rock Stadium, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, MZ Architects, Kaslik, Lebanon

Carved into a rocky ridge, the amphitheatre of The Rock Stadium by MZ Architects recalls Petra’s ruins

More Middle East than south and east, this proposal is for a stadium by Lebanese practice MZ Architects. It takes advantage of a desert ridge behind the UAE’s Al Ain to support the major stand in this stadium. The other sides read as plates folding out of the desert floor − and actually are the roofs of three secondary stands. So the vast ensemble characteristic of any big stadium is let almost unobtrusively into both the desert floor, less so into the slope of the local craggy ridge.

This is big geometry rendering a highly artificial activity almost innocent. The architects talk about the precedent of Greek auditoria and the way ancient monumental Egyptian structures are burrowed into the local environment. There is also something of Emilio Ambasz’s half-underground ’70s designs.

rock_archLike Bond villains’ lairs, or hidden missile silos, the pitch is hidden by plates lifting from the sand

rock_stadium_for_textThese plates also provide vital shade from the relentless desert sun

WAF Preview Introduction

The fourth World Architecture Festival will take place 3-5 October 2012 in Singapore. For further information on the event, which features an extensive lecture programme, including a keynote address by Peter Buchanan, go to:

Read the WAF Preview Introduction

WAF Preview Case Studies

Shearer’s Quarters, John Wardle Architects

Gardens by the Bay, Grant Associates, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Atelier One, Atelier Ten, Land Design and Davis Langdon & Seah

Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, Australian Cox Architecture

Chasing Kitsune Food Truck, HASSELL Architects

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