Ever wonder who the architects are behind those flashy World Cup stadiums in Brazil this year? On Sunday, the final match will decide the champs — Germany or Argentina — in one the most storied stadiums in the world, Estadio do Maracana.
The classic venue hosted the 1950 World Cup Final, as well as a profusion of other magnanimous international spectacles. As the second largest stadium in South America, with a capacity of 78,838, the Maracana required daunting updates for the 2014 games.
In order to preserve the iconic, cultural, and historical attributes of the venue, German structural engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann und Partner was called upon. Their design for a large, lightweight roof structure was built low at the inner and outer rim, floating just above the stadium bowl.
The scheme is based on the tension properties of a spoked wheel, comprising one compression ring and three tension rings in total. The old, outdated cantilever roof was replaced by a new cover that rests on existing building supports and is covered with a PTFE-coated fiberglass membrane.
SBP has worked on stadiums for Korea, Germany, and South Africa for their respective World Cup extravaganzas, and also updated two other stadiums for the Brazil games: the Estádio Nacional and Arena da Amazônia. These refurbishments updated seating, concourses, and roof systems:
For the entirely new Arena da Amazônia, SBP developed a steel roof structure comprising diagonally arranged, cantilevering steel box girders, laced together by a secondary steel structure, across which is stretched membrane cladding. Spherical bearings at the base are the secret to the load bearing structure. The kinetic field play of futebol is effectively translated into architectural form.
In Brasilia, the Estádio Nacional was treated to a new lower tier and double layered, concentric suspended roof. To bring the 1974 stadium into the 21st century, the architects integrated photovoltaic modules and a rainwater collection system.