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Architect: gmp International GmbH – Shanghai and Institute of Shanghai Architectural Design & Research Co. Ltd.

Products used: Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor, Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Indoor and Knauf AQUAPANEL® Accessories


The Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre is a sports complex located in the Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu, which is about 90 kilometres west of Shanghai. It consists of several buildings, including a stadium with 45,000 seats, a sports hall (13,000 seats), a swimming pool (3,000 seats) and a business centre. As such, it is perfect for concerts, cultural events, conferences and sporting events of all kinds.

The stadium is called the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium. It was officially opened in January 2019. Around the stadium, there is a sports garden with pedestrian walkways, sports fields and many green areas. The design of the stadium presented some technical challenges for the project. The open construction of the entrance areas and walkways around the stadium meant that the walls and ceilings in these areas would be exposed to the elements during all seasons.

At the same time, the architect wanted to achieve a smooth surface with no visible or open joints to create a monolithic design, even for the curved walls that make up a large part of the surfaces. In order to be able to guarantee this appearance - the architect wanted to avoid facade defects and cracks at all costs – even in the distant future, the selection of the right building material for the exterior walls and ceilings played a decisive role.

These requirements finally led to the selection of an approved system solution: a drywall construction with Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor as the board material, which makes it trouble-free to use for exterior applications and a truly feasible proposal for this project. The lightweight cement board provides a solid and dry substrate that can withstand both moisture and direct contact with water. Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Boards are inorganic and can be bent without pre-treatment to create the desired curved structures. Impact resistance was a further concern of the architects.

Knauf AQUAPANEL® was also found to be the ideal solution for the interior of the gymnasium. For this purpose, the walls were lined with two layers of Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Indoor, resulting in a high impact resistant environment in all relevant areas.

Thanks to the fact that Knauf AQUAPANEL® systems are lightweight drywall solutions, installation was very quick and smooth, which was very important for the strict schedule of a project of this size