The Architecture Of Football Stadiums

Architecture.com
June 11, 2014

With football the topic on everyone’s lips this summer, we look at the architecture behind some of world’s most famous platforms for the sport

Over the years, football has evolved from a working man’s pastime to a multi-billion pound industry and the architecture of its stadiums has evolved with it.

This is clear when we look at the past of the UK’s most iconic stadium, Wembley. “The cathedral of football” according to footballing legend Pele, Foster + Foster had quite a job on their hands when they took on the job of re-building the stadium after the original’s demolition in 2003.

Gone (to much public outcry) were Wembley’s iconic twin towers, and in came a 135 metre high arch that curves over (and supports) the stadium’s roof. With a cross-sectional diameter even greater than that of the average Eurostar train, and visible across London when illuminated at night, this soaring piece of architecture has now won a place in the hearts of sports fans up and down the country.

Striking a balance between the comfort of fans and that most delicate of footballing operations, maintaining the perfect pitch, Wembley also has a retractable roof. When open, sunlight can reach the whole pitch, but in poor weather, the roof can be closed within one hour.

To try and capture an intimate atmosphere  – not easy in a  stadium that can hold up to 90,000 fans  – seats are placed as close to the front of the pitch as possible. At the same time, careful attention has been paid to acoustics to maximize the impact of crowd’s roar. And to combat the misery of the half-time toilet queue, there are 2,618 toilets on site, more than at any other venue in the world. Cutting edge design in stadiums isn’t limited to the Wembleys of this world. Read more…

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