The 2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums
By Ulf Meyer
One of the biggest and most popular international sports events of the year is the 20th FIFA World Cup currently underway in Brazil. Leading up to this spectacular mega-event, the country has been busy with brand new architectural and infrastructural projects. Some of the soccer stadiums stand out thanks to a new and distinctive architectural approach.
Out of the twelve host cities for the Cup, five cities will have new venues built for the event: They are Brazil’s capital Brasília, São Paulo, Cuiabá, Manaus and Natal. FIFA proposes that no more than one city may use two stadiums, and the number of host cities is usually limited to between eight and ten. But the Brazilian proposal to use twelve host cities was accepted by FIFA. These twelve cities are all state capitals and cover all regions of Brazil.
Five of the host cities have brand new venues, while the Estádio in Brasilia was demolished and rebuilt, the remaining six are renovated.
Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha
The Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília was designed by architects Eduardo and Vicente Castro Mello, to be a “green stadium” – with 75% of the surface covered with photovoltaic panels and a roof which serves as a water catchment device. Originally built in 1974, the Estádio was partially demolished in 2010 to give way to this new stadium with a capacity for around 70,000 fans.
The design boasts a new facade, metal roof and stands, as well as a lowered pitch enabling unobstructed views. A lake around the stadium can store ten million liters of water, which will be treated and used in in the stadium toilets, the field’s irrigation and the cleaning of the building. The stadium will also host some games during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Arena Corinthians São Paulo
The Arena Corinthians São Paulo was designed by architect Aníbal Coutinho of Coutinho, Diegues, Cordeiro Arquitetos (DDG) with Werner Sobek, one of Germany’s most famous civil engineers. It has a spectator capacity of 68,000 during the Cup (which will be reduced Post-World Cup to 48,200). The Arena is home of Corinthians Paulista, the biggest football club in São Paulo. 20,000 temporary seats have been added to reach the requirement by FIFA.
The Arena Corinthians will host six 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, including the opening match. The stadium was designed to “help supporters help the team win. I wanted to make the supporters get on the pitch”, says Coutinho who minimized the distance between the first row of seating and the field to only 9 m.
The stadium consists of two buildings with the main part on the west side and another on the east side. The west building has a giant glass façade designed to simulate the visual effect of a ball hitting the net. The geometric consulting company Evolute rationalized the 5,400 m2 of double curved freeform glass surface into 855 planar and cylindrical panels. Reflecting pools around the entrance will work as a performance fountain, providing splash and spectacle during events. The east building features the world’s largest video screen (170×20 m).
Sobek designed the roof with forty-eight 75 m long trusses. The west and east sides are joined by two identical structures with a free span of 170 m. Coutinho intended to bring a paulistano flair to the construction, with structures resembling the São Paulo Museum of Art, a landmark of the city. The roof has four layers: corrugated steel sheets, a thermal and acoustic insulation and a layer of plasterboard. On the underside, a membrane covers the structure. The roof can collect rainwater and has an impressive 4,500 m2 of photo voltaic panels.
Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá
The Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá was designed by GCP Arquitetos in a deconstructivist style with a brown metal mesh façade. It seats 44,000 during the cup (Post-World Cup: 28,000). It replaces the Estádio José Fragelli, which used to be the main football stadium in the city and was demolished in 2010.
Arena da Amazônia
The Arena da Amazônia in Manaus, built on the former site of the Vivaldão stadium, was designed by gmp Architekten of Hamburg, Germany and resembles a white pneumatic marshmallow.
It has a capacity of 42,400 seats and was inspired by the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Its aim was to come up with a simple but efficient stadium that would symbolize the natural diversity of the tropical rain forest. The roof is made up of mutually supporting cantilevers, whose hollow core steel girders function as gutters to drain the tropical rainwater. The roof and facades consist of translucent fiberglass fabric, whose coating reflects heat and has a cooling effect.
Arena das Dunas in Natal
The Arena das Dunas in Natal was designed by US-based Populous Architects and has a capacity of 42,000. The stadium sits in a park and looks like an asymmetrical white shell. The structure’s undulating form responds to the climatic conditions, shielding spectators from sunlight, while allowing the main stands to catch the on-shore breezes and air to flow into the bowl via louvers. The upper tiers are separated into seating blocks. These ‘petals’ are linked via an undulating concourse. The stadium’s form is reminiscent of the sand dunes that form its backdrop. A shopping center and commercial buildings, hotels and a lake will also be built around the stadium.
Arena Fonte Nova
The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Bahia has a maximum capacity of 55,000 people. It was built in place of the older Estádio Fonte Nova by Schulitz Architects from Brunswick in Germany.
The Arena Pernambuco is a new stadium in Recife designed by architect Daniel Fernandes. The area will include a university campus, an indoor arena, a hotel and convention center, plus commercial, business and residential units and an entertainment complex with shopping centers, cinemas, bars and restaurants. An solar power plant is integrated in the structure. When not used for the stadium the energy generated by the plant will meet the average demand of 6,000 people.
Altogether, some 64 matches are to be played during the tournament in twelve cities across Brazil. The focus of the fans will probably not be on the architecture of the stadiums but the matches. However, in the mediastorm Brazil undoubtedly faces this summer, the spectacular design of its new stadiums will most likely help Brazil confirm the image of a modern metropolis. An self-image the country has worked so hard to create.