It may be reasonably argued that a stadium poses just as much of a spectacle as the game it hosts. Although established by the Romans to facilitate combating sports with a provision to accommodate an enthusiastic audience for the sake of recreation for the local folks, stadium designs have experienced major transformations over the past centuries as intentions to serve larger purposes have risen. 

The modern era expects this single structure to symbolize the strengths and identity of the region hosting the event, to lure people from various parts of the globe and unite them with a common interest, without compromising on the requirements of the sport and comforts of the athletes. 

And hence, fresh ideas and advancements are constantly developed in the design of stadiums, and this article showcases some of the best venues around the world for one of the most celebrated sports, that is, football. 

Listed below are the 10 most innovative football stadiums ever built.

1. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Completed in 2005 by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, the Allianz Arena is the home stadium for Munich’s two main local football teams. The most remarkable feature of the stadium is the exterior cladding made of 2,874 translucent diamond metal panels of ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer). 

These panels can be illuminated separately in the colours red, blue and white; red and blue representing each of the two local teams and white to support the German national team. The roof membranes weigh only a thirtieth of the weight of glass, and are self-cleansing and ventilated.

Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - Sheet1
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany ©teahub.io
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - Sheet2
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany ©goodfon.com
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - Sheet3
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany ©besthqwallpapers.com
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - Sheet4
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany ©allianz-arena.com

2. Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland

The national football stadium of Ireland, the Aviva Stadium is home to both the Irish rugby and the football teams. Post completion in 2010, the stadium has been recognised as one of the innovative football stadiums in terms of sustainability and site responsiveness. Populous architects were constrained by the presence of residences on the north and south edges of the site and hence developed an undulating structure of differing heights to avoid blockage of light and ventilation to the surrounding settlements. 

Moreover, the façade is clad with polycarbonate louvers and glass that reflect the sky and give an impression of a lighter mass. 

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - Sheet1
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland ©avivastadium.ie
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - Sheet2
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland ©populous.com
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - Sheet3
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland_©populous.com
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - Sheet4
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland ©populous.com

3. Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan

Designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito for the 2009 World Games, the National Stadium (Kaohsiung) is a multi-purpose stadium used mostly for football matches. The roof of the semi-spiral, dragon-shaped stadium is installed with 8,845 solar panels to suffice the power generated by the stadium and to potentially power up to 80% of the neighbourhood. The stadium yields about 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year.

Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan - Sheet1
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan ©Chi-Po lin
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan - Sheet2
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan ©Peellden
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan - Sheet3
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan ©Dirk Heindoerfer
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan - Sheet4
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan ©Dirk Heindoerfer

4. First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa

Popularly known as Soccer City, this innovative football stadium, redesigned by Populous architects and Boogertman Urban Edge + Partners, was an icon for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 

The structure was designed to honour African culture with a resemblance to the appearance of traditional local pottery and a unique exterior that is screened by locally sourced fibre-cement panels of earthen colours to look like a mosaic of fire.

First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - Sheet1
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa ©Chris Gascoigne
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - Sheet2
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa ©populous.com
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - Sheet3
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa ©populous.com
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - Sheet4
First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa ©populous.com

5. Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan

Designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Showa Denko Dome, previously known as the Oita Bank Dome, primarily hosts football matches and is the home stadium for the local J.League club. However, it is also used for rugby tournaments. The structure is recognised for its retractable roof that mimics the blinking of an eye and is hence commonly called the Big Eye Stadium. 

The two halves of the roof are pulled up and lowered along a spine, as required, with the help of wires controlled by winches at the bottom. Furthermore, an open slit is left at the joining of the roof and the spectator seating to allow natural ventilation and views of the surrounding landscape.

Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan - Sheet1
Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan ©nippon.com
Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan - Sheet2
Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan ©discover-oita.com
Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan - Sheet3
Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan ©cdn.newsapi.com.au

6. AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne’s first rectangular stadium, AAMI Park was designed by Cox Architecture and completed in the year 2010. The characteristic feature of this innovative football stadium is the roof structure for the seating area that comprises a series of interlocking geodesic domes of triangular facets panelized with a combination of glass and metal. It is also fitted with LED lights that display a variety of colours and patterns to suit the events. 

This technique of construction uses about 50 percent less steel than required for a typical stadium.

AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia - Sheet1
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia ©coxarchitecture.com
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia - Sheet2
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia ©coxarchitecture.com
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia - Sheet3
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia ©coxarchitecture.com
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia - Sheet4
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia ©coxarchitecture.com

7. National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland

Built in 2011 as the home stadium for the Polish national football team, the National Stadium in Warsaw was designed by German architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners, and Polish architects JSK Architekci. The exterior façade is clad with anodized expanded metal wire mesh that is painted red and silver to reflect Poland’s national colours. 

The roof is of steel wire nets and a textile membrane that is hung on freestanding steel supports with inclined tie rods.   

National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - Sheet1
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland ©Krystian Trela
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - Sheet2
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland ©Marcus Bredt
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - Sheet
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland ©Marcus Bredt
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - Sheet4
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland ©Marcus Bredt

8. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, by HOK architects, serves as the home for both the Atlanta Falcons football team (American football) and the Atlanta United soccer team. The stadium is a true technological masterpiece that provides some of the best experiences to the fans during a match. 

The structure is topped by a unique retractable roof consisting of eight triangular panels that open and close along individual tracks like a camera aperture. When open, a large oculus brings ample daylight to illuminate the extent of the arena.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA - Sheet1
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA ©mercedesbenzstadium.com
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA - Sheet2
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA ©mercedesbenzstadium.com
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA - Sheet3
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA ©hok.com
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA - Sheet4
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, USA ©hok.com

9. Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido, Japan

Designed by Japanese architect Hiroshi Hara, the Sapporo Dome was completed in 2001 with remarkable futuristic features that make it one of the most innovative football stadiums that are praised to this day. The roof has been designed in response to the local climate; to slide off snow and reduce stress on the structure. 

The most unique aspect of this multi-purpose stadium is the retractable grass football pitch that can slide in and out of the stadium by a pneumatic mechanism in only a matter of a few hours. This “hovering soccer field” sits on an underlying artificial baseball turf inside the dome.

Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido, Japan - Sheet1
Sapporo Stadium, Hokkaido Japan ©nippon.com
Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido, Japan - Sheet2
Sapporo Stadium, Hokkaido Japan ©nippon.com
Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido, Japan - Sheet3
Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido, Japan ©Yumemi K

10. Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

Built in a city declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Estadio Nacional Brasilia was redeveloped for the football World Cup 2014 to reflect and preserve the city’s architectural history and culture. Gmp architects collaborated with Castro Mello Arquitetos and Schlaich Bergermann & partner to build the monumental circular concrete stadium with an esplanade along its circumference. 

The characteristic feature of this esplanade is the concrete “forest of columns” that support a double-layered suspended roof of concrete and a translucent membrane. The stadium is also known for its sustainable measures such as the photovoltaic modules in the roof membrane and provisions for collection of rainwater.

Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil - Sheet1
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil ©Marcus Bredt
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil - Sheet2
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil ©Marcus Bredt
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil - Sheet3
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil ©Marcus Bredt
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil - Sheet4
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil ©Marcus Bredt
Author

Sri Lalitha Yeleswarapu has recently graduated as an architect and is looking to find her place and role in the field. She sees architecture as a medium to cleverly and innovatively craft a narrative that is memorable, unbiased and promises a happy ending;storylines createdthrough writing, sketches or design.

Write A Comment