Field of Dreams: Singapore Sports Hub to open by April 2014
Construction is well under way for Singapore's new Sports Hub. In fact, it is expected to open by April 2014, less than a year from now. It is set to become the pre-eminent sports and leisure venue in Southeast Asia.


It's less than 12 months until the Singapore Sports Hub will open. It is believed to be the largest ever sports infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the 35-hectare sports complex is currently under construction in Kallang. The estimated $1.334 billion sports, entertainment and lifestyle Hub, which consists of a 55,000 seat National Stadium, a 6,000 seat Aquatics and Water Leisure Centre, a 3,000 seat Multi-Purpose Indoor Arena, a Water Sports Centre, a Sports Library and Sports Museum, a 41,000 square metre retail mall, and the existing 12,000 seat Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Arup is lead designer for a 55,000-seat stadium, the heart of the new development.

"We are excited to be part of the design team for this unique development that integrates sport, leisure and entertainment facilities located within Singapore's city centre" says André Lovatt, Arup's Singapore office leader. "The Sports Hub will put Singapore firmly on the map as a world leader in sports infrastructure and we believe it is a model that other countries will seek to follow."

So who's running the show? Well it is a PPP project, we mentioned that before, where the Sports Hub consortium has a 25-year contract with the Singapore Sports Council, the Government agency responsible for sports promotion in Singapore, to design, build, finance and operate the Hub. That consortium includes four equity partners: InfraRed Capital Partners, UGL Services Ltd, Global Spectrum Asia (with Pico Pte Ltd as a partner) and construction firm Dragages Singapore Pte Ltd, part of Bouygues Construction, one of the foremost construction groups in the world. Dragages has been active in Asia for more than a century and has developed a leading role in Singapore's construction industry.

It is heading construction works on the massive project.

"The Sports Hub will offer world-class facilities for sports, events, concerts, exhibitions and international trade shows," Bouygues Construction says on its website. "Our sister company Dragages Singapore, part of Bouygues Batiment International, will design and construct the complex. The Hub, which is due to be completed in 2014, is located on a prime 35-hectare seafront site in the centre of Singapore city, with close proximity to all major transport links. Stimulating the development of sports activities locally, the centre will also enhance Singapore's appeal and capabilities on a global level. Central to the Sports Hub is the 55,000 seat New National Stadium, which features a retractable roof measuring 300 metres in diameter. To ensure spectators are comfortable, the stadium's cooling system must provide relief from Singapore's stifling heat. A unique and innovative air-conditioning system is being developed for the stadium, which will circulate cool air under spectator seating. Other Hub facilities will include: a 6,000 seat indoor Aquatic Centre and a Water Sports Centre for the general public; a 3,000 seat Multi-Purpose indoor Arena that will be fully scalable; an exhibition centre; a sports museum; office space for sporting associations; 41,000 square metres of commercial space and food and beverage outlets. The development will also comprise a kilometre-long Sports Promenade with a skate park and hard court outside tennis courts. With several interconnected buildings to be constructed in a small area, the complex will present significant technological challenges.

"The construction process will offer many opportunities to make a positive social and economic impact on the city, with 2,500 people expected to work on the project, and 20 or more cranes to be used," it adds.

For those of you that don't know, the new Sports Hub is on the site of the old National Stadium, and, to retain some of its heritage, many of the materials from the demolition are being recycled into the new build.

The old National Stadium was built in 1973 and contains many happy memories of a time when Singapore competed in the Malaysia Cup and other sporting events like the inter-school track and field championships. The National Stadium also hosted 18 National Day Parades.

The Sports Hub will reinforce Singapore's position as a major international sports destination that is already attracting world-class sporting events, such as the recently won WTA Championships, which will take place in 2014.

"With an elegant 312 metre dome Singapore's new stadium will be the largest free-spanning dome in the world," says Arup. "It will also be the first naturally ventilated stadium to have an integrated cooling system, with energy-efficient technology delivering cool air to every single seat. And up above, the retractable roof will provide shade and shelter from the tropical weather.

"The stadium can host football, rugby, athletics and cricket in one venue, with a fully moveable lower tier of seating providing the best views for each sport.

"The flagship National Stadium and Sports Hub are intended as an anchor for a nationwide plan for a thriving and sustainable sports ecosystem across Singapore," it adds. "Alongside the stadium, we've also designed an Aquatic Centre and Multi-Purpose Indoor Arena. As well as being as training bases for elite athletes, these facilities will be open to the local community."

The first phase of construction for the stadium, completing all piling and foundation work, finished in September 2011, allowing the above ground construction work to begin.

Speaking to Southeast Asia Construction Magazine in July-August 2012, Frederic Perez, construction director with Dragages Singapore, said the most challenging aspect of this job is its density.

"Even though this project will spread out over a very wide area, nearly every part of that area will be occupied by some kind of structure," he said.

Schedule for this massive project is very tight. Work only started in September 2011 and the construction phase is just 30 months. It is on target.

Look out for a follow up piece in our next issue.

To learn more visit www.sportshub.com.sg.

Image: Supplied

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