Cameroon has one of the most successful football teams in Africa and has been selected to host the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2022. The new Japoma Sport Complex in Douala is one of the main venues hosting the tournament. It has been conceived to promote the local economy and boost elite and community sport activities with a distinctive architectural form designed to delight and inspire. Cameroon is often described as ‘Africa in miniature’ due to its rich diversity in climates and vegetation: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest and savannah. This new sports city is located to the east of the city of Douala, which benefits from an ethnically varied population with a rich cultural heritage.
AECOM’s design approach was to deliver an architecturally distinctive stadium, which is capable of delivering international class Football and Athletics events, but which also recognises the importance of being rooted in its local cultural and physical environment, using appropriate technologies for construction, tournament operation and long term management and maintenance.
As a nation, Cameroon is crazy about football, but there is also a rich tradition of athletics across sub-Saharan Africa. A key challenge, therefore, was to find a way of accommodating both sports without resorting to expensive, high maintenance solutions.
The response to this challenge was to provide a continuous, two-tier spectator bowl, which will create an intense atmosphere and an outstanding fan experience. The bowl has been parametrically modelled to ensure that every seat has the best possible view given the technical constraints.
The stadium responds to the sloping site topography, set into the hillside to allow safe, easy to navigate access around the entire bowl. A novel approach is taken to food and beverage and other concessions. Recognising the local tradition for informal street food rather than more formal catering in Cameroon, a series of lightweight modules are arranged around the outer concourse, allowing for a wide variety of local producers to deliver an authentic semi- outdoor catering experience.
The stadium sets new standards for the region. Whilst encompassing suitable and appropriate technologies in its construction, it is, nonetheless, a thoroughly modern stadium, fully compliant with FIFA and IAAF requirements, with modern IT and communication systems, LED floodlighting, media and broadcast facilities and high-quality audiovisual provisions.
As well as the 50,000-seat football stadium, the scheme also includes external facilities that will be made available to the public.
- An Olympic standard 50 m aquatics centre
- A football field
- Four tennis courts
- Two basketball courts
- Two volleyball courts
- Much of the structure is precast for rapid build, but the pre-casting was undertaken on-site using locally sourced aggregates
- The structure is highly repetitive and optimised; the number of principal structural frames is reduced by 50% compared with a standard stadium design
- Material durability and low maintenance have been objectives of the design throughout the entire development
- Impermeable surfaces have been reduced to allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground naturally to attenuate the heavy Cameroon rainfalls
- Natural waste products from the construction process such as timber logs or rocks are used within the landscape to add landform and land-art elements that connect with the local culture
Lead consultant, masterplanning, architecture, full multidisciplinary engineering