On 30 June 2014, Singapore Sports Hub’s National Stadium opened its doors with much fanfare. After all, $1.3 billion was exhausted in its construction. However, a slew of mistakes soon surfaced.
1. Stadium capacity
Back in her early heydays, the Grand Old Dame saw a capacity of 55,000 with Singapore’s population of 2.2 million then. With a grand overhaul, one would have expected a higher capacity from the new stadium, especially with the projected 6.9 million population in Singapore. Surprisingly, the capacity of the new Stadium remains at 55,000.
Why clock up world record having a dome with a diameter of 312 metres when the capacity stays the same?
2. Lack of backup plans
The Sports Hub initially decided on hybrid grass for the Stadium’s pitch, spending $833,000 on the synthetic-natural hybrid. In August, Juventus coach criticised the pitch for being too soft and patchy, only growing in clumps.
Months later, even after the installation of $1.5million lighting equipment, the grass pitch still fell short on expectation. The Sports Hub finally decided to implement a lay-and-play solution, where a natural pitch would be grown in a plant nursery and then transported and laid over the existing pitch.
3. Roof not as weather-proof as claimed
The Stadium’s retractable roof did not serve its purpose when it facilitated water leakage, rather than acting as a shield against Singapore’s weather.
The recent Jay Chou concert was held at the National Stadium on 27 December, after its postponement from 8 November to allow the grass to grow. Fans who have been anticipating this concert were in for a major letdown and had to put up with the leaking roof. Some sharp-eyed fans attributed this to the retractable part of the roof that was left opened, resulting in rain seeping through.
4. Playing the blame game
We wonder what Oon Jin Teik’s role in the Sports Hub is, then?
5. Not even fit for a concert
Former Lions Captain Baihakki Khaizan posted a photo of the current National Stadium on his Instagram in October, with the hashtag #stadiumforconcerts. This Jay Chou concert may have proved him otherwise though. Complaints of a poor ticketing and sound system were some of the issues that arose, amidst other matters.
Old Versus New
Many Singaporeans fondly look back upon the former National Stadium and the memories it carried. National Day Parades were held there for a total of 18 times and the Southeast Asian Games were also hosted at the National Stadium three times, in 1973, 1983, and 1993. Most had high hopes, with billions of money and state-of-the-art technology pumped into the new National Stadium. Within a short 6 months after its opening, further improvement works had to be undertaken, incurring extra costs that could have been saved. It is vital to keep in mind that while present-day architecture should not be backtracking on modernity, functionality and practicality of the building should not be compromised as well.