Dakar Arena Multi-Functional Sports Hall by Yazgan Design Architecture pays homage to Senegalese culture and context

Faruk Nahita
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The Dakar Arena is a 15,000 visitor capacity multi functional sport complex, in Senegal designed by Yazgan Design Architecture and constructed within a 10 month period by Turkish Construction company, Summa.

Completed in early August 2018, the Dakar Arena was designed accommodate an array of sporting activities including Basketball, Handball, Volleyball, Tennis etc. as well as cultural activities like concerts and congresses. The design of the arena pays homage to the local culture and tradition with its use of colour and motifs/patterns, most notably on the vibrant louvered facade.

Renders courtesy Yazgan Design Architecture

The facade features leaf-shaped vertical solar screens in selected colours from the Senegalese flag. The peculiar leaf form is a nod to the greenery present within the context and are arrayed in a rhythmic pattern. The action of the sun on the screens creates a light show of sorts within the internal circulation areas that outline the arena, as the light falls on the pristine white walls in a kaleidoscopic manner creating a play of colour and space. The arena meets all the design criteria put forth by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and follows universal design principles so that the disabled, the elderly, and families with children can easily access and circulate throughout the building.

Project Description

The Dakar Arena located in Senegal is a multipurpose sports hall with a 15.000 visitors capacity. The venue offers a relationship with the city by implementing an urban plaza as a meeting point and an event space for inhabitants. 

The rich and colorful local culture is the main inspiration of the design of the Arena. Many prominent aspects of African culture, including fashion, handicraft, work of art and traditional local dwellings with their unique motifs, patterns, use of colors give the main identity to the building. All these aspects are combined and reflected in the materiality of the architecture of the building.

A Variety of locally inspired colors and patterns standout in the facade. The selected colors derive from the flag of Senegal and they follow a rhythm while functioning as sunshades. While the colors are irregularly placed horizontally, their sizes decrease vertically towards the roof. This organization brings dynamism to the facade. With the elliptical shape of the building and the perpendicular placement of these elements, the facade gives different levels of transparency from different angles. The particular shape of the sunshades is inspired from the local leafs. These sunshades are used in order to create stratification in the plan. They mark the border between the exterior podium and internal circulation of the spectators. On the other hand, foyer back wall is characterized by a white clean surface.

Reflections of the colorful leaves on the facade shine upon the white walls of the main circulation area, giving color to the space and signaling the motion of the sun throughout the day. The colored shadows regularly change their direction and bring forward a sort of dynamism to all of the surfaces to make the impact of the nature visible and playful. The color works as a catalyst, enhancing the integrity of the volume and building the overall idea. The visual movement of the facade turns color into a performance element. 

The tribunes are designed via the development of parabolic sections in order to present an equal angle of vision for each audience. Although the building is designed mainly for sports activities, such as basketball, tennis, boxing, etc., it can also host such cultural activities as concerts and congresses; thus it bears the potential of becoming an incubator for urban vibrancy. Dakar Arena, with its multipurpose facilities, its spatial, visual, social potentials is aimed to contribute to the urban life and architecture.

Project Information

  • Location: Dakar, Senegal
  • Client: Summa Inc. Co.
  • Completion Date: 2018
  • Gross Floor Area: 189 500 sqm
  • Architects: Kerem Yazgan, Begüm Yazgan
  • Design team: Yazgan Design Architecture
  • Land Area: 95 110 sqm
  • Total Construction Area: 32 800 sqm
  • 3D Visualisations: RJ Models, Yazgan Design Architecture
  • Structural Engineers: Meinhardt Turkey, Uzay Construction Systems
  • Mechanical Engineers: Metta Engineering
  • Electrical Engineers: EMT Engineering
  • Infrastructure: OED Engineering
  • Landscape Design: Yazgan Design Architecture
  • Video Credits: Emre Dorter
  • Acoustical Design Consultant: Ses Görüntü Production Systems
  • Fire Consultant: Alara Project
  • Lighting Design Consultants: On Off Lighting Design & Consultancy
  • Photography Image Credit: Faruk Nahita

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