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11 Amazing Steel Stadiums from Around the World

8 June 2011 No Comment

Steel is an essential material that sustained development in recent centuries. Along with iron, it was of a great importance when building roads, railways, appliances and even buildings.

Today’s largest structures, including skyscrapers, airport terminals, stadiums and bridges are supported by steel skeletons. But when ambition meets grandeur, the architects come up with some of the most innovative uses of steel in history. Here are 11 of the most amazing stadiums ever built, using steel:

Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany)


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Allianz Arena is a football stadium in Munich, Germany. Shortly after its completion, the stadium became one of the city’s most popular landmarks. Since it is the first stadium in the world and one of the largest structures on earth to fully change its color outside, it continues to attract thousands of tourists yearly.

Allianz Arena has a capacity of 69,901 spectators, of which 2,000 are business seats, 400 are press seats and 106 are luxury boxes. The sports complex also includes Europe’s largest parking structure, a four story building with more than 9,800 parking spaces.

More than 22,000 tonnes of steel were used in the construction of the stadium, while another 14,000 tonnes where used to build the immense parking structure. The light changing system is comprised of 2,847 ETFE-foil air panels, inflated with dry air. Each panel can be independently lit at night with white, red or blue light.


Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States)


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This football stadium built in 1927 is one of the oldest still standing today and one of the first ever being built of steel and concrete. Although the Michigan Stadium does not stand out through its design, it is one of the largest arenas in the world, by capacity.

It initially had 72,000 seats but nowadays it can host up to 109,901 spectators, making it the largest stadium in the United States and the third largest in the world. The 84-year-old stadium went through a major renovation in 2010, which included the replacement of some bleachers, the widening of aisles and individual seats, the addition of a new press box, 83 luxury suites and 3,200 club seats.

A record crowd of no less than 113,090 people cheered their favorite team during the Michigan – Connecticut game, in the 2010 season opener.


Estádio Municipal de Aveiro (Aveiro, Portugal)


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Estádio Municipal is a football stadium located in the city of Aveiro, Portugal that was built in 2003 for the UEFA Euro 2004. Just like the city and the nation, the design of the stadium is jolly and has a constructive effect on every sport celebration that takes place on Estádio Municipal.

The appealing shape of the stadium makes the stadium look like a giant toy: sharp red steel pylons uphold the sky-blue edges of the roof. The polychromic feature can be admired from the entrance gates, to the seating chairs – blue, red, yellow, green, black and white chairs animate the seating areas.

With a capacity for 32,830 spectators and such a special design, it is more than a visual show to see the stadium both empty and full of people.


Rungrado May Day Stadium (Pyongyang, North Korea)


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In North Korea, every public building erected during the Communist regime is made to impress and to enhance the propaganda. This is also the case of the Rungrado May Day Stadium that impressed not only the people and the leaders of North Korea, but the whole world.

This multi-purpose stadium can seat no less than 150,000 people, which makes it the world’s largest stadium in world, by capacity. Amongst all the sports venues it is the 12th largest. Rungrado May Day was completed in 1989 and it is currently used for football matches, athletic competitions and more often for mass games.

There are no less than 16 arches that make up the roof, reaching over 197 ft (60 m) in the air. For the construction of the roof alone, 11,000 tonnes of steel were used. Its total floor space is over 2.2 million sq ft (207,000 sq m), across eight whole stories.


FNB Stadium (Johannesburg, South Africa)

800px-Soccer_City_during_World_Cup_2010-07-03Image source  via Marcello Casal Jr / ABr

FNB Stadium, otherwise known as the Soccer City, was the main stadium used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is located in Johannesburg, South Africa and is the largest stadium on the African continent with a capacity of 94,700.

The design of the stadium centers on the idea of a Clabash, a traditional African pot. The cladding of the exterior is a mosaic of fire and earthen colors, with an array of lights running on the bottom of the structure, simulating a fire underneath the stadium. Building the largest stadium in Africa required 90,000 cubical meters of concrete, 10,000 tons of reinforcement steel, 9 million bricks and 13,000 tons of structural steel. 9,980,000 hours were needed to complete this amazing arena.

The Calabash has also a great historical significance, since it was the place where Nelson Mandela held his first speech after his release from prison.


Wembley Stadium (London, United Kingdom)


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The Wembley Stadium (often referred to as Wembley or the New Wembley) is a football stadium located in London, England. It officially opened in 2007, on the location of the old Wembley stadium, which was erected in 1923. With a capacity of 90,000 seats, this is the second largest stadium in Europe and it currently serves as England’s national stadium.

At a cost of 798 million pounds, it is one of the most expensive stadiums that has ever been built, but the characteristics of this arena are simply astonishing: Wembley has a partially retracting roof, features the largest roof-covered seating area and it can be easily adapted to an athletic stadium.

Another distinguishing feature of the New Wembley’s design is the 134 m (440 ft) high steel arch, which is the longest single span structure in the world. 23,000 tonnes of steel and 90,000 cubical meters (120,000 cubical yards) of concrete were used in the construction of the new stadium.


Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (Senayan, Central Jakarta, Indonesia)


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This multi-use stadium in Jakarta is named after Indonesia’s first president, Gelora Bung Karno. Being built in the 1960s, the stadium could initially seat up to 100,800 people, but after the 2007 renovations, its capacity was reduced to 88,083.

The main feature of this stadium is the huge steel roof structure that forms a giant ring, called temu gelang (joined ring). Besides shading the spectators under the tropical sun, the ring also emphasizes the grandeur of the arena. Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is part of a vast sports complex which also includes: a secondary stadium with a capacity of 20,000, two indoor gymnasiums, an aquatics arena, a tennis stadium, a softball field, an archery field and a hockey field.


Borg El Arab Stadium (Cairo, Egypt)


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Located 50 km west of Alexandria, the Borg El Arab Stadium (or the Egyptian Army Stadium) is the largest stadium in Egypt and second largest in Africa, after Johannesburg’s Soccer City. It stands on an area of 145 acres (586,000 m m2) and can sit up to 86,000 people on the upper and lower levels, being built to allow spectators to view pitches in every angle without any difficulties.

In addition to its own airstrip, the stadium can accommodate up to 5000 cars and 200 buses. To top it all off, there are 32 restaurants and a 200-beds hotel for the stadium’s visitors. One of the most impressive design details is a metal sunshade pulled by resistant steel cables, having a height of 104 feet (32 meters). For this sunshade, one of the largest in the Middle East, has been built using 35 tons of steel.


The National Stadium (Beijing, China)


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Informally known as the Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium created for the 2008 Summer Olympics displays an award-winning design inspired from Chinese ceramics. The stadium, with a volume of 3 million cubic meters is the largest enclosed space in the world.

It consists of two structures, one independent from the other, and a seating bowl, everything wrapped in an outer frame. The steel used for the retractable roof had to be covered, according to the biding specs, so the stadium’s architects came up with a concept to hide the steel by adding more steel.

For the 91,000-seat stadium, a length of 16 miles (26 km) of unwrapped steel was used, making it the world’s largest steel structure to date. It cost US$423 million to build and now hosts numerous events, drawing 20,000 to 30,000 people a day.


University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona, USA)


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Home to the Arizona Cardinals and the annual Fiesta Bowl, the University of Phoenix Stadium has a fully retractable natural grass playing field and a capacity of 63,400 seats. This, along with its retractable roof earned the stadium a place in the top 10 “most impressive” sports facilities on the globe, as named by Business Week.

The seating capacity can be expanded to 72,200, every seat benefiting from the same, unobstructed view. 546 steel wheels, riding on 13 parallel rails have been implemented to slide the field tray in and out of the stadium. The stadium boasts 160,000 square feet of exhibit space, being built on 1.7 million square feet of space. The ”University of Phoenix” is added to the stadium’s name, being a corporate sponsor, it is not the home stadium of the University itself.


Olympic Stadium (London, United Kingdom)


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Olympic Park. Aerial view of the Olympic Stadium with a newly turfed event field. Picture taken on 24 Mar 11 by Anthony Charlton.

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The Olympic Stadium is going to be Britain’s third largest sports arena, after Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium. Although the construction of this amazing stadium was over on 29 March 2011, the arena will officially open on the first day of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The arena will have a capacity of 80,000 spectators during the Games, which will decrease by 25,000 after the Games will end. This is possible due to an innovative construction technique: layers of lightweight steel and concrete that can be eventually disassembled and reassembled.

The roof is made of fabric, attached on a steel cable net formed between the outer white steel roof truss and an inner tension ring that hangs 30 meters above the field. 900 tonnes of scaffolding, 12,000 meters of cable, 56 hydraulic jacks were needed to lift only the 450 tonnes structure. 34% of the steel used in the construction of the Olympic Stadium is recycled, thus reducing the environmental impact and making it the lightest Olympic stadium ever built.


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