It is an American architecture firm

Populous will design the Grand Stadium in Casablanca for the 2030 World Cup

Aficionados del Wydad ondean banderas durante el partido de fútbol de la segunda ronda de la Copa Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA entre el Wydad AC marroquí y el Al-Hilal saudí en el estadio Príncipe Moulay Abdellah de Rabat el 4 de febrero de 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/FADEL SENNA
Wydad fans wave flags during the FIFA Club World Cup second round football match between Morocco's Wydad AC and Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat on February 4, 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/FADEL SENNA

The American architectural firm Populous, in collaboration with the French-Moroccan firm Oulalous + Choi (O+C), has won the competition for the contract to design the Grand Stadium of Casablanca for the 2030 World Cup. 

  1. Impressive project

According to an official release from Populous, Morocco's National Agency for Public Facilities (ANEP) chose the firm in a competition that included proposals from Herzog & De Meuron, Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster + Partners, Cruz y Ortiz, GMP Architects and HPP Architects.

Populous, the entity in charge of designing the new Inter Milan stadium, the new Wembley or the Yankee Stadium in New York, said in the official statement that preparations are already underway for the start of work on a 100-hectare site in the town of El Mansouria, in the province of Benslimane, 38 kilometres north of Casablanca, after public funding had been approved in October 2023.   de 2023. 

Casablanca Finance City (CFC) - Ayour Achtouk
Casablanca Finance City (CFC) - Ayour Achtouk

The official statement noted that the design by Oualalou + Choi and Populous is inspired by the traditional Moroccan social gathering known as "moussem", "with the stadium structure located under a large tent roof that emerges as a dramatic intervention in the wooded landscape". 

The stadium will meet all the requirements imposed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and will be able to host various matches of the 2030 World Cup in which Morocco is the host along with Spain and Portugal. 

According to Populous, the winning project involved engineering firms Maffeis Engineering, ME Engineering, Rider Levett Bucknall, Momentum and SEPSI. 

Populous is a global design firm with partners on four continents. It works with communities of all sizes and uses diverse disciplines to create experiences that amplify the joy felt in shared human moments. The firm has 40 years of experience and more than 3,200 projects under its belt. 

Zonas verdes de Casablanca, Marruecos - PHOTO/ATALAYAR
Green spaces in Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR

Impressive project

The Grand Stadium of Casablanca has a provisional budget of 5 billion dirhams (459 million euros), according to the specifications of the architectural competition published last October by Sonarges and ANEP, the Moroccan public companies dedicated to sports investment and public facilities. 

In addition to the 115,000-capacity stadium, the site will include an athletics track, an indoor swimming pool, a shopping centre and a hotel, according to the tender documents.

The financing for the Grand Stadium comes from an agreement signed by the Moroccan government on 20 October with the public investment company Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG).


This agreement mobilises a budget of 14.5 billion dirhams (around 1.3 billion euros), which will also be used to renovate six other stadiums in Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, Agadir, Marrakech and Fez that will host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2030 World Cup, as reported by the EFE news agency. 

Christopher Lee, managing director of Populous for the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), said: "We are very proud to have been selected for this prestigious project, with our partners Oualalou + Choi. The Grand Stadium of Casablanca is an iconic and emblematic place for the citizens of Casablanca and Morocco that will become one of the great stadiums of the world".

Meanwhile, Tarik Oualalou, Design Director, founding partner of Oualalou + Choi and chief architect of the project, said: "The Grand Casablanca Stadium is deeply rooted in Moroccan culture, with its traditions and contemporary expressions. It has its roots in ancient and primordial figures: the 'moussem', the tent and the garden, as well as in the topography and landscapes of Morocco.  It is a generous space, open to the world and respectful of the nature it protects. The Grand Stade de Casablanca is the embodiment of the great tradition of Moroccan hospitality. 

Mohamed VI, rey de Marruecos - PHOTO/FILE
Mohamed VI, King of Morocco - PHOTO/FILE

For his part, François Clément, president of Populous France and chief architect of the project, added: "The Grand Casablanca Stadium is a cornerstone of King Mohammed VI's vision to develop Morocco's football infrastructure. The stadium will comply with FIFA standards, allowing it to host major matches of the world's most prestigious international competitions, including the 2030 World Cup. "The pace of the planned works at Benslimane demonstrates the commitment of all parties involved to deliver this incredible project on time and on budget. It will be an immense asset for the country, elevating Morocco to the highest global platform for sports infrastructure development," he reviewed.  

Casablanca's Grand Stadium is bidding to host the 2030 World Cup final, organised by Spain, Morocco and Portugal, and is competing with Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium for the privilege and honour. The joint bid of Spain, Morocco and Portugal is still finalising the organisational details of the World Cup to reach a final consensus to be known at a later date.