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Azerbaijan gets earthquake-proof football stadium

Photo: COWI

​The Azerbaijan Premier League is not the only challenge facing FC Gabala's new football stadium.

​In the mountains of Azerbaijan, one of the highest seismic regions in the world, FC Gabala’s new football stadium is built to withstand an earthquake.

With its 3,500 fixed seats and another 3,000 seats in the grand stand, FC Gabala’s new stadium is ready for the Azerbaijan Premier League. However, its location in the high seismic risk zone of northern Azerbaijan means that the building’s design had to consider other factors than football.

“Northern Azerbaijan is one of the highest seismic zones in the world, which puts great importance on the structural design of any building. The local authorities were impressed by our approach to this project, and that is why COWI got the contract,” says Jens Fussing, Technical Director.

The challenge of earthquakes

COWI was appointed to carry out the FEM modelling (finite element modelling) of the buildings and grand stands by the authorities because of the seismic zone’s high location and the region’s extreme temperatures.
“When building in an area that is prone to earthquakes, there are a lot of challenges to be considered. If the design is too stiff, the building can fall apart or even tumble over. The finished stadium building in Gabala is actually quite stiff, but it’s designed is such a way that even a major earthquake should only cause minor structural damages,” says Fussing.
It was not only in the design and construction of the stadium that special safety measurements were applied. When building new structures in Azerbaijan, earthquake resistance requirements exceed normal building regulations by 20 per cent.
“This project shows how important it is for us to work closely with local experts and authorities in order to do the best possible job,” Fussing concludes.

LAST UPDATED: 13.01.2017