Crowd pleasing design
In 2008 Abu Dhabi was appointed host for the 2009 FIFA World Club Championships, which meant the old Sheikh Zayed Stadium required extensive refurbishment.
The project had to deliver an international standard football pitch and athletics track, with seating for 45,000 spectators, in a short timescale.
BuroHappold Engineering provided integrated services for the creation of a suitable championship venue. The main challenge was the programme timescale, which gave our team only nine months to complete the refurbishment.
The pitch lighting was old, out dated and didn’t conform to modern lighting standards or broadcasting requirements. BuroHappold faced the challenge of modernising this aspect within the constraints of the existing infrastructure and mountings, while minimising disruption. Glare was also an issue due to the low roof and positioning of the TV cameras.
To address the issue of pitch lighting, our team successfully increased light levels to a standard suitable for broadcasting, also replacing the concourse lighting. We also carried out extensive renovations to the Royal Box, including the incorporation of a cantilevered roof with integrated lighting and ventilation systems.
Matthew Birchall, Cluster Leader and Project Principal
The roof supports a fully retractable glazed façade, allowing attendees to experience the stadium from either an environmentally controlled or more naturally exposed arrangement. The complex installation of the glazing used threaded tie rods, modified to suit the tolerance of the glass.
Newly upgraded media facilities allow international standard broadcasting equipment to be connected to existing facilities, accommodating current technical requirements. Additional structural upgrades included strengthening balustrades, along with a cable at roof level to support flags and banners.
BuroHappold successfully delivered agile design solutions in a very tight timescale. The refurbishment works were completed to exceptional standards of comfort and style, with the first game played in the updated stadium in December 2009.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply