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#TDS Design & Development Summit

MANICA thinks ‘outside the box’

The “Container Concept” is a precision pre-engineered solution that delivers unique and iconic arenas, stadiums, and amphitheaters more quickly and at lower cost. The resulting design is not limited by capacity or program requirements.

When compared to a conventionally designed and constructed venue (of the same capacity and program) the Container Concept provides substantial benefits:

  • First cost reduction of ~15%
  • Schedule reduction of ~30%
  • Early cost certainty
  • Increased quality control
  • Operating cost efficiencies including reduced utility consumption
  • Reduced traffic congestion, noise pollution, and environmental impacts
  • Increased sustainability benefits (LEED certification as base condition)
  • Opportunity for accelerated depreciation
  • Reduced owner risk
  • Enhanced project returns

David Manica President of Manica Architecture states that “The benefits to the industry are incredible. Demountability. Portability. Flexibility. Expandablility. All hot issues that we are all trying to solve for, certainly the concept is immediately applicable for large scale events such as the Olympics or World Cup events.”

MANICA Architecture’s proprietary concept called +drome integrates smart design and existing technologies to drive project cost down, simplify the design and construction process, and reduce ongoing operating expenses.


Core organising principles behind the +drome include:

Coordinated Design: The MANICA Architecture team in partnership with David Carlock of Machete Group, has taken an “inside out,” “all hands on deck” design approach. The result is a fully integrated “plug and play” solution that avoids the inefficiencies of conventional venue design.

Strategic customisation: The conventional design process results in what is essentially a fully customised building. Each component – suites, locker rooms, food service concessions, offices, control rooms – is designed specifically for the individual venue and configured to accommodate the unique building characteristics defined during the conceptual design process. This means that owners pay a hefty design and construction premium for elements of the building – toilet blocks, concessions support areas, green rooms, walk-in coolers, operator offices – that customers and sponsors will never see or appreciate as a proprietary element. Imagine buying a car and insisting on paying for a unique muffler, axle, and gas tank. The smarter process is to limit customisation to the model, color, interior, and options. Maybe even flames on the side. But not the muffler. Customise where the owner gets a return. Standardise everywhere else. That’s the principle behind +drome’s strategic customisation.

Pre-Engineering: MANICA Architecture has developed a proprietary approach that regularizes the most coordination intensive building components. The pre-engineered building components are precision manufactured off-site in controlled environments.

By avoiding the typical job site challenges and risks – including inclement weather, contractor coordination, damage, and theft – quality increases and cost decreases. Reducing the amount of work that occurs on-site shortens project schedule and results in a safer work. And by making the units easily transportable, the stadium units could be easily fabricated in nearly any labour market in the world and shipped to the building site for final assembly.



“Our greatest challenges have been related to inertia. It’s obvious the concept makes sense for the industry, but investing in the infrastructure required to make a container stadium reality is admittedly very challenging. It’s one of those things that is very difficult to be the first in line to do. It will certainly take a special client with a certain critical mass to undertake. For example, we are in discussions currently with a developer in China who envisions distributing 70 small buildings around 2nd to 3rd tier cities in China. In that kind of circumstance, this idea would absolutely flourish” – David Manica