Populous and Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) worked together a shared vision for the first stage of KL Sports City.
The catalyst for the project was this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Kuala Lumpur 2017, an important opportunity to return Malaysia to the world sporting stage.
Originally opened for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the brief called for the transformation from design to completion within 18 months; providing four ‘new’ world-class venues to stage major events and recreation facilities for the Malaysian community year-round.
The redevelopment of Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Putra Stadium (now Axiata Arena), the National Aquatic Centre and the National Hockey Stadium focused on providing functional excellence cou-pled with the expression of Malaysian culture. Paul Henry, Populous co-founder and senior princi-pal, defines KL Sports City as “the new heart for sport and entertainment in Malaysia”.
The National Stadium, with the distinguishing stripes of the external façade, was conceived as a reference to the Malaysian Tiger. Constructed from a series of vertical louvers that have been twisted in response to climatic conditions, the new façade offers sun shading and natural ventila-tion to the concourse without completely obscuring the original iconic skeleton of the stadium. LED lights have been integrated into the louvers, allowing digitally based animations to flow over the three dimensional façade. The end result allows the operators to create a new venue for each and every event – reflecting the activities occurring within.
The team strove to create a co-ordinated and liveable sports city by adapting, updating and linking the existing facilities, creating more public parkland and natural shade, and adding a 1.4km syn-thetic rubber running track, bike paths and shaded canopy over the boulevard joining the light rail station.
The improvements have already stimulated residential growth, fostering the precinct’s increasing usage, relevance and ‘ownership’ by the people of KL: it has quickly become a true ‘Sports City’.
Bukit Jalil National Stadium: Bukit Jalil can seat 87,000 people. The re-designed stadium features a unique façade made from a series of vertical louvers that have been twisted in response to climatic conditions; LED lights which have been integrated into the louvers, allowing digitally based animations; and the compre-hensive upgrade of facilities, infrastructure, systems, hospitality, corporate, fan experience and community destination.
Axiata Arena: Recently renamed Axiata Arena, the stadium has 11,000 permanent and 2,232 retractable seats, making it a flexible space for indoor sports and events. The upgrades include a new façade to cover the existing building and offer a new lobby and entrance space; a complete replacement of all seats including a new retractable seating platform; new suites and corporate facilities.
National Aquatic Centre and National Hockey Stadium: Comprising Olympic standard swimming pool, warm-up areas and diving pool, the National Aquatic Centre recent upgrades include a new distinct façade; replacement of the existing fabric roof; new FINA compliant diving board; new sports lighting and PA systems. The National Hockey Stadium seats up to 12,000 people and recent upgrades include new, world-class turf pitch, sports lighting and toilets.