In the era of starchitecture, few projects pose more of a challenge to renowned architects than the scale and complexity of a city's crown jewel, the stadium. With a few recent stunning examples in the works, we thought we'd take a closer look.
Home to one of the biggest fútbol teams in the world, FC Barcelona, Camp Nou is getting a major makeover courtesy of British architects Norman Foster + Partners. Already the largest stadium in Europe, Foster + Partners will expand seating capacity to 106,000, ensuring an even more raucous match, but the most eye-catching part of the redesign is the multi-colored exterior and retractable roof.
Made of polycarbonate and glass, the exterior panels can change color and tilt, patterning the entire stadium or transforming it into a giant screen. Think of it as a macro-pixelated television. The renovation will be completed for the 2011/12 season. Now if they could just keep Lionel Messi healthy that long.
Beijing National Stadium
Tasked with designing Beijing National Stadium, the home base for the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Herzog & de Mueron came up with this organized entanglement of 36 km of steel, oftentimes dubbed a bird's nest.
The criss-cross façade lends a baroque-modern aesthetic while at the same time functioning as a supporting structure. When it comes to energy consumption, the stadium is fully modern, boasting a rainwater collection system, a translucent roof for a better grass field, natural ventilation and a state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic system.
When finished, the mammoth structure will seat up to 100,000 spectators and thanks to Olympic clout, it will be finished on time and budget. Did someone say New World Order?
Wembley Stadium made its return mid-2007 to retake its place as the home of football. Also designed by Foster + Partners, it seats 90,000 (only second in capacity in Europe after Camp Nou) and is the largest covered football stadium in the world.
The key feature of the new Wembley is its retractable roof, supported by an awesome 135 meter-high arch. The arch allows sunlight to hit the grass on fair weather days, but can cover all 90,000 seats during precipitation.
Designed with the spectator in mind, the new Wembley offers luxury seating and first-rate banquet halls improving an already great experience. I've also heard the locker rooms are pretty sweet.