Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan after Karachi. It is the cultural capital of Pakistan. It is an ancient urban centre. It was one of the major cities of the Mughals in the 17th century. Its location as an important crossroads in the northern Punjab brought riches as well as invading armies. As a result the city cultivated a rich architectural heritage that reflects the political fortunes of its conquerors. The modern city of Lahore, however, is organised along a pattern set mostly by the British during their approximately one hundred years of colonial rule over the Indian sub-continent.
Today Lahore has almost seven million inhabitants plus innumerable migrant workers from the surrounding small villages. Its precarious location between the Ravi River to the West and North and the Indian border to the east forced the city to grow mostly southward.
The Walled City of Lahore covers an area of 256 ha with a population of 200,000. The city walls were destroyed shortly after the British annexed the Punjab in 1849 and were replaced with gardens, some of which exist today. The Circular Road links the old city to the urban network. Access to the Walled City is still gained through the 13 ancient gates, or their emplacements. The convoluted and picturesque streets of the inner city remain almost intact but the rapid demolition and frequently illegal rebuilding, which is taking place throughout the city, is causing the historic fabric to be eroded and replaced by inferior constructions. Historic buildings are no exception and some have been encroached upon. The few old houses one can still see in the city are usually two or three storeys tall, with brick façades, flat roofs and richly carved wooden balconies and overhanging windows.
The Gaddafi Stadium, built in the 1960s was a poorly maintained stadium. It was built with a concrete frame and red brick infill elevation and concrete interiors. The idea for renovating the stadium came as a result of the cricket world cup scheduled to be held in Lahore in 1996. The Pakistan Cricket Board contemplated building a new stadium for the event, however, funds were not amassed and the event was approaching. So, it was decided that the old stadium would be renovated and expanded, thereby cutting down on the expenses and construction time. The programme required the addition of a gallery on the exterior of the building. Also, the building had to be technically retrofitted to accommodate the world cup matches. The seating capacity was originally for 30,000 people with only 15 percent for individual seating while the rest were in tiers. The task of the design was to increase the seating area to 35'000 with at least 60% individual seats (eventually the whole stadium was developed with individual seats). Visiting and home team chambers, warm up areas, and gym facilities were needed. Also, press rooms for 400 people were called for along with 30 small hospitality rooms. Restrooms and ticketing areas are also part of the programme. A shopping gallery was added on the periphery of the building.
The basic shape of the building is a circular plan of about 260 metres in diameter. The perimeter of the building is made of red brick. At ground level an arcade runs along the perimeter of the building and houses retail spaces. Two towers mark each entrance. The towers contain ticketing offices and restroom facilities. The towers are solid in contrast to the perimeter of the stadium. To shade the seating areas a special steel structure was devised. The basic unit is a 20-metre long space frame of a semi-circular cross-section. The frames are supported in the back by concrete columns and covered with fibreglass. The architect tried to introduce some traditional motifs to this otherwise very modern building type. As the interior architecture was set in the original concept of the building, the architects work was mostly on the surface. The principal structure of the stadium is load-bearing brick walls with reinforced concrete columns and steel sections for the arcades. The seating area is made of stepped reinforced concrete slabs. The infill material is handmade clay bricks and the exterior walls were made of exposed red brick and cement mortar. The floors of the seating areas are ceramic tiles and the floors of the shops are terrazzo tiles. Interlocking paving bricks were used in the forecourt.