Featured Image Source: Carlo Fumarola, Under Creative Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Navrangpura_Stadium_2.jpg
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium is one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world. The stadium can hold a whopping 50,000 excited fans. The circular stadium has a radius just over 112 meters, the stands being about 35 meters wide. The stadium used to host international cricket competitions until a new same-named stadium opened to the north-east. This new stadium located in Motera is currently being renovated and will reopen in 2019 with a seating capacity of over 100,000 making it the largest cricket stadium in the world.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium sits in the Navrangpura districts in the centre of Ahmedabad. The stadium is about 800 meters away from the Sabarmati River that flows straight down the middle of the city. The stadium is enclosed by two main roads on the south and west side, by a railway on the east side, and by a residential area on the north side. The two main roads are the Chimanlal Girdgarlal Road and the Sardar Patel Stadium Road. There is also a sports club and swimming pool on the grounds of the stadium.
The stadium was designed by Charles Correa (1930-2015), a master Indian architect who designed notable works both domestically and internationally, for example, the British Council in India which was completed in 1992. He was joined by structural engineer Mahendra Raj to create a new modern stadium for cricket fans in the city of Ahmedabad.
Construction started in 1962 and the stadium was completed in 1965. The stadium is constructed using reinforced concrete, the main structural element is the exterior wall. The wall’s strength comes mainly from its shape which is known as a folded plate design. The outside wall zigzags horizontally as it encircles the stands. This gives the wall more strength than if it had been designed as a flat plate. Meaning the plate can be thinner and lighter. This also gives the stadium its distinctive shape.
This design feature is best observed from the outside of the stadium where the intricate folding plate design can be seen. The folded plate design is made up of large A-shaped arches. These arches are connected to each other via an angle to give it its folding plate structure. The top of each arch juts out on top of the seating area. The area under the stands are hollow making the structure of the stadium visible.
About a fifth of the stadium is roofed. The roof is about 20 meters wide and it held up by the exterior wall via a cantilever mechanic. The roof therefore needs no extra columns to hold itself up and mean the fans have an unobstructed view of the action on the pitch. It was the first stadium in India to use a cantilever roof structure.
The building’s structure is naked from almost every angle and the whole building has been left in its raw concreteness. This gives the building a futuristic almost dystopian feel to it. The arches leaning back as you walk into the stadium make the structure look all the more impressive. The whole structure looks as if it is ripping itself apart and that it is being pushed outwards from its centre. The building’s use of concrete and visible structure, without any ornamentation, makes it a brutalist building. It is a great example of what makes brutalism such a wonderful architectural style. The building does not hide what it is or how it holds itself up. It is a terrific stadium for a terrific city.
Sources: Wikipedia (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium), Wikipedia (Sardar Patel Stadium), Wikipedia (Charles Correa), Wikipedia (British Council, India), Structurae (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium), Structurae (Mahendra Raj), Pinterest