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NEW OPENING


KATH HUDSON, JOURNALIST, SPORTS MANAGEMENT


OLYMPIC DREAMS


Azerbaijan is investing in architecture, sport and tourism to establish itself as a major destination. This year, it hosts the inaugural European Games at the newly opened Baku Olympic Stadium


B


aku, Azerbaijan’s capital city, was awarded the inaugural 2015 European Games in December 2012. The oil rich country was the only bidder,


which makes it no less of an achievement, since other bidders were frightened off by the tight timescale. Keen to become a leader in global sport, by securing a major international sports event – as a precursor for its ambitions to one day host the Olympic Games – Azerbaijan committed to be Games-ready within two years. Tekfen Construction was appointed and


tasked with an aggressive build schedule, which necessitated having to design and construct simultaneously. Nonetheless,


COMPANIES WHO WORKED ON BAKU STADIUM


Heerim Architects & Planners Co, Ltd: design architect Thornton Tomasetti: structural Arup International Ltd: geotechnical Vector Foiltec: façade subcontractor Support in Sport Eastern Europe: pitch subcontractor Mondo S.p.A: athletic track and sport flooring subcontractor Anel Group: MEP subcontractor Blue Cube (GB): seating subcontractor Sinerji: interior fit out subcontractor


the challenge was successfully completed, with the stadium finished in early March 2015, in plenty of time for the European Games in June. Europe is the last of the major


continents to have its own Games. They will be held every four years, in the year before the Olympics. The first Games will see 7,000 athletes, from 49 countries, taking part in 20 sports. It will be the biggest sporting event Azerbaijan has ever seen and has sparked investment in cutting edge architecture. “The government sees sport as an


excellent vehicle through which to engage with Azerbaijan’s youth nationally, as well as raise the profile of the country on the international stage,” says Jeremy Edwards, general manager, Venue Management Baku 2015 European Games. “Not only are the Games a chance to


inspire more people to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, but they also provide an opportunity for graduates to develop new skills and obtain experiences which will further help Azerbaijan develop a place on the world stage.”


This year’s European Games will test Azerbaijan’s capabilities to host a multi-sport event 38


ASPIRATIONAL ARCHITECTURE Azerbaijan has been aspirational with its architecture. Eager to secure international prestige, architecture is being used to present an image of modernity and the sports facilities are at the forefront of this campaign. The new stadium is part of a new village cluster, which includes athletes’ accommodation and The National Gymnastics Arena, which hosted the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships last year. Designed by Broadway Malyan and Pasha Construction, this is another example of groundbreaking architecture. The form was inspired by the ribbons of rhythmic gymnasts and strobe lighting is used to make the building look like it is fluttering. Now the US$640m (£436m, €604m) Baku Olympic Stadium, situated near


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


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