Basrah Sports City in Basrah Province, Iraq. Courtesy HOK.



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design and façade engineering services for Basrah Sports City, a multi-use complex. The design-build, fast-track project is the largest of its kind in Iraq. The complex consists of a main and secondary stadium, four distinct training soccer fields, athlete housing and a fire station. Bridges span a man-made lake that surrounds the main stadium.

The main stadium is a multilevel 2.5-million-gross-square-foot structure featuring 65,000 seats, including 215 VIP seats, 1,344 west club seats and 3,108 east club seats; 15 large suites; spectator and player amenities; support facilities; 205 VIP underground parking stalls and a tunnel connecting the main stadium to the secondary stadium. The 270,000-gross-square-foot secondary stadium is a single-level structure and consists of 10,000 seats, spectator and player amenities and support facilities.

Given that the upper soils of the site are soft clays and highly compressible, the main stadium is supported on deep foundations that utilize 31.5-inch-diameter bored concrete piles installed via slurry-displacement techniques and driven to a depth of 78 feet. The stadium’s perimeter consists of sloped ladder columns that support the floors, 18-foot-wide column shrouds, large skin panels and a roof. To provide full overhead coverage of the seating sections, 3D tri-chord steel trusses covered in metal decking cantilever 151 feet with a back-span of 59 feet.

The original skin concept called for 100-foot-long GFRP panels in 10 different configurations; however, the project’s tight schedule necessitated a more efficient design. Thornton Tomasetti developed a parametric Catia model to analyze different panel shapes and worked closely with project architects to decrease the number of molds to five, cutting the fabrication time in half. Thornton Tomasetti also designed highly adjustable brackets that connect the panels to the ladder columns and accommodate the varying panel sizes and positions. The ladder columns and the brackets were transferred from Catia into Tekla and provided to the fabricator for shop drawing production.

360 Architecture, soccer, football,
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