A City

An Olympic-sized stadium is the largest planned for construction within the next decade.

Like many cities in China, Hangzhou is undergoing rapid urban change. While the city center historically developed around the West Lake area, opportunities for industry and commerce have shifted the city’s expansion towards the Qian Tang riverfront. New construction has tripled the city’s size in the past decade, creating a modern architectural fabric that is powerful in scale, yet still in need of public space.

NBBJ, in partnership with CCDI, designed the Hangzhou Sports Park on a 400,000-square-meter site on the Qian Tang riverfront opposite the city’s new Central Business District. The main stadium broke ground in 2011, and the entire complex is slated for completion in time for the 2022 Asian Games.

Activating the Site

The site plan is composed of three layers of activity. An above-grade platform defines the “sports boulevard,” which links programs such as the main stadium and tennis tournament facilities together. On the ground level, pathways, gardens and plazas form a network of public recreation activities designed for alternative and extreme sports. Sunken spaces and courtyards lead to an extensive below-grade retail pavilion containing boutique stores, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.

Integrated Computational Design

As worldwide demand for steel increases — by 78% in the last decade alone — so does the cost, which has skyrocketed 217% since 2007. That’s why we use parametric design to cut waste while creating functionality and form.

Our designers leveraged advanced parametric scripts and modeling techniques to develop and optimize the exterior shell of the Hangzhou stadium. The steel shell and concrete bowl systems were coordinated and linked for stability and optimized steel use. Because the model was parametric, design changes could be made with an extremely short turnaround, eliminating the “build-test-discard” method common in traditional modeling.

The parametric model was used as the basis for cross-disciplinary collaboration with engineers and material consultants. The engineers and consultants could use the design team’s output directly for performing their specialized design and analysis operations. The close communication between disciplines enabled the design team to ensure quality control and also find opportunities for further optimization.

The end result? We achieved a 67% steel savings over similar arenas like the famed Bird’s Nest, the Beijing National Stadium.

Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design
Computational Design



Awards and Publications


Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards, Honorable Mention (Space and Places)
Prix Versailles Sports Award
Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award


Metropolis, “A Campus for the 2022 Winter Games Blossoms in Hangzhou,” March 27, 2020
Dezeen, “NBBJ models Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center stadium on lotus flower,” March 5, 2020
ArchDigest, “This Flower-Inspired Stadium Design Is All About Sustainability,” February 21, 2020
Designboom, “NBBJ expresses sustainable hangzhou stadiums with organic lotus-petal elements,” February 2, 2020
South China Morning Post, “Mainland China towers scraping the sky in a green and modern way,” July 30, 2014
Stadia Magazine, “Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center,” March 2013
ArchDaily, “NBBJ and CCDI Break Ground on Hangzhou Sports Park,” April 15, 2010
Stadia Magazine, “NBBJ and CCDI break ground on Hangzhou Sports Park,” April 2010
Inhabitat, “Gigantic Flower-Shaped Green Stadium Blossoming in China,” April 2010