In March 2018 Holmes Miller Architects entered an international design competition organised by the Huafa Group, on behalf of the City of Zhuhai.
The coastal city of Zhuhai is located on the border with Macau in China's southern Guangdong province. Following transformation into one of China's first Special Economic Zones in 1980, today the city is known for golf resorts, theme parks and islands off the Pearl River Delta. The world's longest bridge (37miles, $16bn) is set to open in 2018, which will connect Zhuhai to Hong Kong in 30 minutes - and transform Zhuhai's fortunes.
The City of Zhuhai has already constructed a world class tennis venue (2015) and it is now on the international tennis event calendar - the next step is to create a Sports Campus of a scale capable of hosting major international sporting events. The design competition to create the campus was launched in late 2017 and Holmes Miller's office in Guangzhou was one of 24 registered companies competing to make it to the final stages of the competition.
Holmes Miller's offices in Glasgow and Guangzhou regularly collaborate on projects - 9000 miles is no problem to us - but this was the first opportunity to work on a Sports Architecture project together.
The Zhuhai International Sports Campus competition brief called for an extensive program of facilities on a large site;
-25,000 Capacity Stadium
-16,000 Capacity Arena
-Youth, Women and Children's Community Complex
-250 Bedroom Accommodation Complex
-Outdoor Sports Pitches
Following a period of design charrettes in both Glasgow and Guangzhou, a vibrant Holmes Miller team, led by Ian Cooney, worked together to develop a design concept that could bring all of these elements together in a scheme with a distinctive aesthetic that reflected the context and character of Zhuhai. Taking inspiration from the coastal location, the scheme looked to the Islands within the Pearl River Delta and arranged the sports buildings as an Archipelago - parkland and retail at its heart - with views towards the stunning ocean setting. Finally, buildings took on a hue that referenced the locality of Golden Bay.
From a field of 24 teams, the final entries were 10 nos. and included notable European based international firms in the form of Zaha Hadid London, Populous Australia and GMP of Germany. The remaining entries consisted of Chinese Firms, including Harbin Architecture and Tsinghua Architecture - two prominent companies. Following the presentations Holmes Miller were delighted to hear we were shortlisted to the final 5 entries of the competition along with the aforementioned - a recognition of the quality of our design, the team's dedication, and our ability to compete with larger firms on the international stage.
Alas, there can only be one winner and it was announced that Tsinghua Architecture of Beijing were selected as the winning team - we congratulate them on their winning design, and wish Huafa Group the best of luck with the project.