China, Shanghai 

Shanghai Oriental Sports Center


Competition 2008 – 1st prize
Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Magdalene Weiss
Project leader
Chen Ying
Jan Blasko, Lü Cha, Lü Miao, Jörn Ortmann, Sun Gaoyang, Yan Lüji, Jin Zhan, Fang Hua, Martin Friedrich, Fu Chen, Ilse Gull, Kong Rui, Lin Yi, Katrin Löser, Ren Yunping, Alexander Schober, Nina Svensson, Tian Jinghai, Zhang Yan, Zhou Yunkai, Zhu Honghao
Structural engineers
sbp, Sven Plieninger
International installations
WES & Partner
Chinese partner firm
SIADR, Tongji Design Institute
Capacity, hall stadium
18,000 seats
5,000 seats
Outdoor swimming pool
5,000 seats
Shanghai Administration of Sports
Construction period



Marcus Bredt

The Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (SOSC) 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 outdoor 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 round 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 aluminium sheet forming the two-sided curved surfaces of identical radius along the frame of the understructure, evokes sails billowing in the wind.