Hamdan Sports Complex

Hamdan Sports Complex is a purpose built aquatics centre in Dubai, constructed to host the 2010 FINA World Swimming Championships and a subsequent array of other international swimming and diving events. The complex contains two separate 50m pools with movable booms and floors, as well as two independent sets of diving platforms, providing the flexibility to cater for competition, elite training and everyday use.

We worked closely with the project engineers to design a system where the pool tank in the main arena can be drained to enable it to be covered and used for a variety of other purposes. The 15,000 seat arena is then transformed into a spectator event space capable of hosting international sports events, concerts and exhibitions.

Aquatics, sports and events arena

Dubai, United Arab Emirates



Dubai Municipality

September 2008 - October 2010

October 2010

Three months ago when I was here I didn’t believe this was possible. I was very skeptical. Now I find this jewel here – it is the pearl of the desert, and I believe it is one of the best swimming facilities in the world.

Cornel Marculescu
Executive Director, International Swimming Federation (FINA)

Versatile by design

Our proposals were conceived to deliver the largest and most flexible aquatics complex in the world. We recognised that the operators of buildings designed to host occasional, prestigious events can struggle to extract value out of the high capacity facilities in the interim periods.

A number of solutions were employed at Hamdan Sports Complex to ensure maximum flexibility in legacy mode. Firstly, there are two separate 50m pools - the main arena pool and a separate training pool - with moveable floors and walls to allow subdivision into different configurations of length and depth.

Hamdan Sports Complex Dubai 2D Drawing Section L
Hamdan Sports Complex Dubai Badminton Championships S
Hamdan Sports Complex Dubai Dry Sports Conversion L

Secondly, several massive underground storage tanks (equivalent in size to an international standard swimming pool) next to the building allow the water from the main pool tanks to be temporarily removed and stored. A trestle system sits inside the empty pool tank to allow it to be safely covered, creating a multi-purpose performance and exhibition arena.

To prevent the loss of diving facilities when the main competition pools are covered, the innovative double-backed diving platform provides divers with alternate access to the training pool; the moveable floor descending to the required depth for safe diving.

An international legacy

This is an outstanding and extraordinary venue. This venue will be for the future, not just for the UAE, but for the development of swimming in the entire Middle East region

Dr. Julio Cesar Maglione
President, International Swimming Federation (FINA)