Today it is: Finally worldcup again. Bets are strong for Spain, Germany surprises with a very un-german team of young and dynamic players. I love soccer not only for the game, but especially for the atmosphere created in the large stadium structures. Yet those arenas are an environmental disaster: Huge areas, with even larger infrastructure around it, serve their purpose only once a week the most. Other than that, they are are cemetery of concrete and manicured grass. They seem to be resisting other use than the mega-event and opposite to even the biggest market square (which also takes on civic and social function beyond the market day), the stadium has failed to generate activities beyond it's designated function. The stadium is maybe the most inflexible and mono-functional architectural space possible. Yet many architects have created amazing spaces of architectural and engineering beauty. Arguably the marriage between the two disciplines has always created the most stunning results. For the celebration of the day, please see a collection of my favorite stadiums:
Nervi, Palazetto della Sporto, 1957: Amazing Concrete roof structure, quite monumental though, yet such a high level of precision in casting work.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Paulistano Athletics Club, 1958: The beauty about Brazilian architecture is, that they can make concrete fly. One of my favorite architects of all times and imagine: This was his very first project, won the competition and built thereafter...
Eero Saarinen, David S. Ingalls Hockey Ring, 1959: It marks the shift in Saarinen's works, from modernist box shapes to a more organic form finding process, based on engineering and structural considerations
Luigi Moretti, Stadium Proposal for the Exhibition of the IRMOU and parametric architecture, 1960: Why has this never been built? Maybe one of the most elegant stadium architecture, where the pitch is an extension of the landscape and the seats just float above it. And it was the first parametric exhibition...
Kenzo Tange, Tokyo Olympic Stadium, 1964: The entire roof is suspended from two steel cables. A very expressionistic stadium and a very innovative structural system that time
Guenther Behnisch, Frei Otto, Olympic Stadium Munich, 1972: And they made architecture fly - very elegant solution of a tensile roof structure. It has been rarely accomplished to create a tensile structure - without fabric - so light
Roger Tallibert, Montreal Olympic Stadium, 1976: I like the dynamics the stadium creates on both, sculptural level as well as on urban relations
Hiroshi Hara, Sapporo Dome, 2001: Not necessarily for its form, but this stadium is highly interesting because of its performance: The pitch is moveable and the inside of the stadium can be used for completely different events.
Herzog de Meuron, Beijing Olympic Stadium, 2009: Beautiful one-liner, beautiful decoration. Not so sure, if it should be in here, yet it is quite amazing, that they managed to built this in China to that level of precision.
Images have been searched online.