First National Bank Stadium/ Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa
First National Bank Stadium, referred to as Soccer City during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, features an exterior cladding made up of a mosaic of reds and browns, which give it an appearance of a calabash, an African bowl or pot. The base of the structure features a ring of lights along the perimeter, simulating fire underneath the pot.
The multi-purpose stadium, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, has a capacity of 94,736 making it the biggest stadium in Africa. Originally built in 1987, the stadium underwent major refurbishment prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The historic stadium was redesigned by Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners and US-based architects Populous. It hosts rugby and soccer matches as well as concerts.
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the Allianz Arena football stadium comprises three rings of tiers and includes Europe’s biggest multi-storey car park with nearly 10,000 parking spaces.
The most impressive feature of the stadium is the shimmering diamond-shaped Ethyl tetrofluoroethylene (ETFE) panels that make up the facade. Each panel can be illuminated separately in white, red or blue, thus enabling the stadium’s exterior to change colours depending on which of the two local football clubs is playing: red and white for FC Bayern Munich; blue and white for TSV 1860 München.
The 71,000-seat stadium, located in Munich, Germany, was inaugurated in 2005 and served as the venue for the opening game of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Borisov Arena, Borisov, Belarus
Slovenian firm OFIS Arhitekti designed the Borisov Arena, a football stadium located in Borisov, Belarus, drawing inspiration from the architecture of living cells.
The arena opened in 2014 and is the home stadium of FC BATE Borisov and the Belarus national football team.
Its exterior is clad in a skin of shimmering aluminium panels with blob-shaped windows. The gently rounded structure comprises 13,000 seats and features four floors under the west stand area and three floors under the east side for recreational services.
Beijing National Stadium, China
Beijing National Stadium located in China’s capital city incorporates elements of Chinese art and culture. It is nicknamed the ‘bird’s nest’ due to the outer web of twisting steel sections, inspired by Chinese-style crazed pottery.
Designed by Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport and the China Architecture Design and Research Group, the 91,000-seat stadium was completed in early 2008 and comprises two independent structures, a red concrete seating bowl and the outer steel frame around it.
The landmark building staged the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field events during the 2008 Olympic Games.
National Aquatics Centre, Beijing, China
Nicknamed the ‘Water Cube’, the Beijing National Aquatics Centre was designed by Sydney-based architects PTW and engineering group Ove Arup, in association with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).
Situated opposite the main stadium in the Olympic Green Precinct in Beijing, China, the centre hosted swimming competitions during the 2008 Summer Olympics. The building’s design is inspired by the natural formation of soap bubbles. It comprises five swimming pools and seating facilities for 17,000 spectators.
The building’s facade, made from translucent and recyclable ETFE panels, resembles crystal LED-lit bubbles during the night and becomes translucent by day.
National Stadium, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
The dragon-shaped National Stadium in the Zuoying District of Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City was designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito.
Completed in 2009 in time for the World Games, the 55,000-seat multi-purpose stadium was also the first stadium in the world to generate entire power using solar energy technology. The stadium’s roof is integrated with 8,844 light-through solar panels.
The solar-powered roof produces 1.14 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually which is enough to meet 100% of the stadium’s power requirements. Nearly 80% of the neighbouring area is powered by the extra electricity generated in the stadium when it is not in use. The green stadium prevents the release of 660t of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.
The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore
Located on the waters of the Marina Reservoir in Singapore, The Float at Marina Bay is the world’s biggest floating stage for sports.
The Float sits atop 200 pontoons on the edge of the Marina Bay and faces a 30,000-seat grandstand. It is the venue for the annual National Day Parade and also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
Also known as the Marina Bay Floating Platform, The Float was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Agency and opened in 2007. The 33,000ft² steel platform measures 120m long and 83m wide and can withstand up to 1,070 tonnes.
Wembley Stadium, London, England
Opened in March 2007, the new Wembley Stadium was built in London, England, to replace a 77-year-old football stadium. The 90,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium designed by architects Foster and Partners and Populous (formerly known as HOK Sport) is double in size compared to the original stadium making it the biggest stadium in the UK and the second biggest in Europe.
Apart from hosting sporting events such as 2012 Olympics football finals and 2011 UEFA Champions League Final, the stadium has also been a venue for music concerts.
The stadium’s unique features include a retractable roof and a 135m-high arch that is visible throughout London. The retractable roof allows light and ventilation onto the pitch while the arch supports the north roof and a part of the south roof.
Arena das Dunas, Natal, Brazil
Arena das Dunas or ‘The Stadium of the Dunes’, a multipurpose arena for musical and cultural events located in Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, was one of the five new stadiums built for FIFA World Cup 2014 and was officially opened in January 2014.
The wavy design of the stadium was inspired by the sand dunes which are commonly found in the Natal area. Its roof features 20 uneven petal-shaped structures connected by a continuous wavy foyer to resemble the moving sand dunes. US-based sports architecture company Populous were the architects.
The arena accommodates 42,000 people and comprises the stadium and a performing arts complex.
AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Arlington, Texas, USA
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is the home stadium of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and is one of the world’s biggest domed structures. The stadium was designed by Dallas-based global architectural firm HKS and was opened in May 2009.
The stadium has a main seating capacity of 80,000, which is expandable to 100,000 during large events such as the Super Bowl. Its distinguishing design features include a retractable roof and an 800ft glass wall that spans the entire length of the stadium.
A four-screen HD video board suspended 90ft above the centre of the field is one of the biggest of its kind in the world.