A good architectural design is not just a matter of efficiency, but beauty as well. If executed properly, the design of a building will do everything it is supposed to do in addition to taking the breath away from the audience. Today, I want to look at four football stadiums that do just that.
The Sapporo Dome
The roof is made with the weather in mind. In the case there happens to be any excessive snowfall, it will simply slide off. Its architect, Hiroshi Hara, made the dome with two sports in mind: football and baseball. This is one of the stadiums where the surface is retractable, meaning that it can switch from football to baseball in a matter of hours. The Dome holds about 40,000 people. Some of you are already acquainted with other works of Hiroshi Hara, like the Yamato International building, the Kyoto Station, and the Umeda Sky building.
The Bird’s Nest
This is actually a nickname for another work of architecture in service of football – the Beijing National Stadium. It was created to host the 2008 Olympics, and designing it was no small task – several people collaborated on the project, including Ai Weiwei and Steven Marbach, with Li Xinggang leading the project.
The stadium got its nickname due to a surprising number of steel columns integrated into the outer layer of the Nest. In truth, the idea was to hide steel beams that were used for the retractable roof, all the while protecting the aesthetic feel of the building. It has 140 executive suites and can hold 80,000 people (10,000 more for the Olympics).
The Wembley Stadium
Wembley is one of the largest stadiums in Europe in recent years. The Old Wembley was closed in 2000 and a restoration attempt has been made. Since 2007, people refer to it as the New Wembley. It was designed by Populous and Foster and Partners, it welcomes 90,000 people, and it is home to not only football matches, but rugby, boxing, and athletics as well. It also cost nearly £800 million to build at the time, which amounts to over £1 billion today!
While it does not have a fully-retractable roof, the design allows partial retraction for the sake of sunlight. The surface of the New Wembley consists of Desso GrassMaster, a hybrid of natural grass and artificial fibers, allowing for both the natural feel and the easy maintenance.
The FNB Stadium
Some people wouldn’t expect an entry from South Africa, but here we are. This stadium hosted the World Cup final in 2010, and even Nelson Mandela once delivered a speech there. In terms of design, the stadium looks like an African pot. There are ten vertical black lines, each pointing at another sports venue.