Located in the heart of Cairo’s new administrative city that has risen in the desert, the “Arena” emerges in the Olympic City of this new capital and has rapidly become the only one building and equipment designed by an international non-Egyptian team. The ambition of this Arena is reflected by its simplicity that evokes a black hill in the middle of the desert. It can be seen from far away as a veil, a dim silhouette that comes to life when its heart starts beating; a mirage that fills up with lives, more than 15.000 seats that jointly make this building beat.
Made of the innovative and cutting-edge Serge Ferrari permeable textile, allowing the building to breathe and to expel smoke in case of fire, the façade integrates the arena perfectly in its environment and makes it the main protagonist when it is used. With daylight, the material darkens, blocking the sunlight and sharpening the edges of its geometry, consisting of 40 pyramid-shaped modules that surround the guts of the building. At night, it is illuminated from the inside, making the geometry a powerful lamp that makes the darkness disappear and lights up the desert.
The structure remains hidden in the interior of this gem, using concrete and steel as the main materials, making of the building a desert tent anchored by its masts which welcomes the visitors with the courtesy of the inhabitants of this “black quartz”.
The main programme is organised in four levels and three basements, which accommodate the athletes’ facilities and also the main field of play and the warm-up courts. The access control will be carried out in the boundaries of the Olympic City and that permits the circulations to be flowing, blurring the limit between exterior and interior. Press and V.I.P. admission is placed on the first floor, which is the only closed space next to the bleachers and field of play.
The building includes the latest technologies, making the equipment the most modern within the African continent. The organization task for the grandstands was undertaken very carefully, allowing all the spectators to enjoy the event, from any angle within, without any visual obstacles.
Complying with the most demanding international regulations, it will be not only the host for the next final phases of the handball World Championship in Egypt, but also suitable for hosting other international championships like Basketball, Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling and Volleyball.
MAAC is a French and Spanish Architecture firm with a worldwide presence. The studio combines three structures, GroupIAD, CMA and les Architectes CVZ, founded by Alain Cottrell 40 years ago, that come together towards a strong and balanced management team, which combines more than 60 specialized professionals dedicated to Design and Build of large-scale projects internationally. MAAC´s architects work as a single studio in all types of buildings: offices, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, educational and transport buildings are rethought for a better place to live, work or travel. Awarded in many occasions, such as the FUTURE MIPIM Awards, winners in 2015, the BIM d’OR in 2016 in the international category and the MIPIM
Awards, Finalists in 2018, MAAC’s projects claim to be the current values of sustainable architecture. Strong in his international identity and large-scale expertise, MAAC has worked on widespread projects in Europe, Africa, Asia and the American continent.