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Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (SOSC), China

gmp Architekten

Disclosing Shanghai's Oriental Sports Center.


The Shanghai Oriental Sports Center was built on industrial brownfield land along the Huangpu River as a venue for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in 2011. It consists of a swimming stadium, a sports stadium, an outdoor swimming pool for high-diving competitions, and a media center. Recurrent design motifs — water and waves, beaches, and bridges — in both the park and the architecture of the stadiums and media center reflect the overall theme of water.

Water is the linking element between the buildings as well, which stand on raised platforms and stick out into an artificial lake. On the north side, a softly curving shoreline runs around the round stadiums, while there is a straight edge for the Natatorium in the south. The links between the buildings are bridges. In this way, each building can be viewed across an expanse of water and is in an exposed position.

Design affinity, a common structural idiom and use of materials produce structural unity among all the stadiums. A steel structure of wide arches, with large-format triangular elements made of coated aluminum sheet forming the two-sided curved surfaces of identical radius along the frame of the understructure, evokes sails billowing in the wind.

The filmmakers shoot the complex when not used and almost empty, with the only exception of a single swimmer testing a dive. Buildings are protagonists with their peculiar forms resulting from reiteration or scaling of selected basic shapes. They are landmarks in Shanghai.

Authors icon Credits

Architect: gmp Architekten
Mentioned project: Sports complex for the FINA World Swimming Championships 2011(2008-2011)
Project location: Shanghai, China
Concept, direction, direction of production: Hans Georg Esch, Oliver Schwabe (HG Esch Photography)
Editor: Christian Becker
Music: Peter Simon
Steadycam: Joa Czogalla
Assistants: Helge Esch, Simon Rittmeier
Colorist: Fabiana Cardalda
Dolly Grip: Quli Su
Production Shanghai: Sisi Wu
Production Assistant Shanghai: Xuan Huang
Appearing: Dongliang Wu (high diver), Wen Chen (swimmer)
Production Assistant Shanghai: Xuan Huang

Germany 2011
Duration: 3'47''