Paul Biya (Olembe) Omnisports Stadium

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Optimizing structural and cladding design while enhancing microclimate conditions for players, spectators, and turf

The Paul Biya Omnisports Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon — also known as the Olembe Stadium — is more than a 60,000-spectator capacity football stadium, as the development also boasts hotel rooms, a pool, a shopping mall, conference space, and other crowdpleasing amenities. Named after the president of Cameroon, the stadium features colorful petals that make up its unique façade.


  • The Challenge

    Surrounded by relatively low-level buildings and hilly terrain, the unobstructed wind was a potential concern for the massive structure in terms of occupant comfort. The design team contracted RWDI to study overall wind-induced cladding and structural loads acting on the roof structure. Adding to our challenge was the fact that there were no established design wind speeds for Yaoundé to inform the study.

  • Our Approach

    Great venues keep fans, athletes, and performers safe and comfortable in all weather. With this in mind, RWDI’s team of experts:

    • Performed a statistical analysis to arrive at an appropriate design wind speed
    • Created a scale model of the development in a wind tunnel and measured weighted, area-averaged pressures on the model to calculate the mean loads, background loads, and generalized aerodynamic forces acting on the modes of vibration
    • Analyzed wind tunnel data to determine the dynamic amplification effects on the fluctuating wind loads caused by the motion of the structure
    • Leveraged wind tunnel data to determine the wind directions that produced the highest wind loads in the load cases governing the structural design and quantify the effective pressure distributions that produce the highest wind loads for the load cases of interest.
    • Calculated cladding peak positive and negative pressures for a safer and more economic building envelope design
    • Conducted refined computational modeling of the turf level solar radiation, spectator thermal comfort, and athlete heat stress in the stadium
    • Leveraged computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to combine high resolution modeling of the stadium for solar impacts with simulations of wind alongside meteorological data for Yaoundé into reports for each parameter for every hour for multiple years. The solar energy striking the pitch was presented in terms of the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), while heat stress and thermal comfort were presented in terms of appropriate indices.
  • The Outcome

    Thanks to RWDI efforts, the Paul Biya Omnisports Stadium design team was able to optimize the structural and cladding design while enhancing microclimate conditions for players, spectators and turf.