Olympic Games are the world’s biggest and one of the most admired sporting events with more than 200 nations participating in a variety of tournaments. It features summer and winter Olympics in which athletes around the globe compete. Here are the largest stadiums used during the Olympics games:

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1. Olympic Stadium Australia

Stadium Australia which is also known as Sydney Olympic Stadium, Homebush Stadium is located in Sydney Olympic Park in Sydney, Australia. Designed by a joint venture of Populous Firm and Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture, is a multi-purpose stadium that can hold 1,100,000 spectators. It holds records for the largest Olympic stadium ever built and the second-largest stadium built in Australia.

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Its design imitates the traditional Australian Akubra Hat. Sustainability and eco-friendly design principles had influenced the planning and designing of it in terms of utilizing less steel in the structure to the possible extent, reuse of rainwater, maximizing the use of natural sunlight. Steel, polycarbonate sheets are the major building materials utilized into its construction.

2. Seoul Olympic Stadium 

It also known as Jamsil Olympic Stadium is a multi-use stadium located in Seoul, South Korea. It reflects a significant moment in Korea’s history and organizes large concerts and sporting events. It hosted Olympic events such as opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, and the football finals.

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It is designed by Kim Swoo-Geun and can accommodate 100,000 spectators today. The form of this mimics the elegant curves of a Korean Joseon Dynasty porcelain vase. The spectator and viewing areas are distributed on two levels.

3. Beijing National Stadium

It is better known as The Bird’s Nest, is located in Beijing, China. It is a 91,000 capacity stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron, ArupSport, China Architectural Design & Research Group, Ai Weiwei.

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Its design is multi-functional which can host various sporting events in futurity. The influence of Green building principles and technology is evident in the design of the stadium. The fusion of local crackle-glazed pottery and heavily veined scholar stones is the inspiration for the form and planning of it. Its roof structure encloses the bowl and forms an articulated envelope with the secondary elements interrupting primary ones forming a grid-like pattern.

4. Centennial Olympic Stadium 

Centennial stadium which is subsumed in the Centennial Olympic Park, was designed by EDAW in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It was primitively designed for a capacity of 85,000 viewers which was originally designed as a “hospitality” venue. It hosted events such as Track and field events, Olympic opening, and closing ceremonies.

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The facade and roof on the southwest part of it facing the street had four-tiered seating whereas the north part of it had a two-tiered arrangement which was modified in the following years.

5. London Olympic Stadium

It is also known as Olympic Stadium and The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a multi-purpose stadium situated in London, UK. Designed by Populous Architects, bearing in mind the future adaptability of it. 

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Aerial View_https://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/12163/9321403/essex-planning-t20-festival-at-london-olympic-stadium-from-2016 
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This 80,000 capacity stadium was designed and planned through simple design language with an integrated material palette. Lightness is achieved and articulated by the facade of it. It comprises of white tubular steel and the internal slender black steel supporting the upper seating and intermediate full height ribbons sections of the fabric. Sustainable building techniques were employed in the design of it.

6. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a multi-purpose stadium located in Los Angeles, California, U.S. This historic landmark was initially built to pay homage to local veterans of World War I.  It is the first one to host the Summer Olympics three times, considering hosting again in 2028. 

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The terraced seating constructed 32-feet below the grade has a capacity of 77,500 viewers. Esteemed architects John and Donald Parkinson designed the coliseum integrating elements of Egyptian, Spanish, and Mediterranean Revival architectural styles. It is a cast-in-situ structure built in RCC, forming a colossal elliptical bowl.

7. Athens Olympic Stadium

This exemplary stadium which is located in Athens, Greece, was the venue for the 2004 summer Olympic games with a capacity of 75,000 spectators. It is designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and is a part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex.

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A distinctive addition to this is the twin roof structure that is suspended from two steel arches that are 45m high. This alteration provided an opportunity to re-imagine this as a modern landmark breaking the stereotypes of Athens Architectural style. Public plazas are treated well emphasizing the entry and exits using vaulted steel canopies.

The modifications done to this led to the modern movement in Athens and became an ideal destination and business.

8. Maracanã Stadium

It is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has a capacity of 74,738 spectators. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 summer Olympics and Paralympics. It is an elliptical structure with a maximum height of 24m. 

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The cantilevering roof of it spanning about 30m shades the rear rows of two-tiered seating arranged in two large rings. During its renovation, the roof of this tensile structure was modified to fiberglass-tensioned membrane coated with polytetrafluoroethylene and stabilized using cables that covers about 95% of the seats. RCC was the main material used in the construction.

9. Japan National Stadium

This is the venue for Summer Olympics 2020, situated in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. This 68,000 capacity multi-purpose stadium is designed in traditional Japanese architectural style manifests Japanese-ness. 

Aerial View_www.archdaily.com
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Elements such as eaves which are profoundly seen in Japanese architecture are used in the facade of the building. “Eaves” represent the culture as well as serve the purpose of blocking harsh sunlight and maintaining the temperature inside. To maintain a visual connection between the interiors and exteriors, the flora was introduced onto the cantilevering flat roofs made of wood and steel. This is a paradigm showcasing the outcome of tradition, climate, and technology combined.

10. Nanjing Olympic Stadium

Nanjing Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 61,443 located in Hexi New Town, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. This multi-purpose stadium hosted the 2014 summer Olympic games and other National games of China. This is spread up to 89.6 hectares, is the focal point of Nanjing Sports Park. 

Aerial View_https://footballtripper.com/china/nanjing-olympic-stadium/

The red color is used to accentuate the two arches of this hyperboloid structure. These massive ribbon-like arches are at an inclination of 45 degrees and create a visual contrast with the other materials glass, steel used in its construction. Nanjing sports center in china’s one of the most vivacious and commercially viable sports centers.

11. BC Place Stadium 

It is situated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada holds the record for the world’s largest cable-supported retractable roof. It is designed by Studio Phillips Barratt, Ltd, Stantec Architecture Ltd, and has a capacity of 54,500.

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It is transformed into a lively center after its renovation with features such as the LED lighting system, center-hung scoreboard. The fabric roof of this tensile structure covers the entire seating area and allows 40% of the daylight. Alterations done to ventilate and illuminate it reduced the energy costs by 25%. After the renovation, this hosted major sporting events such as the 2010 winter Olympics, paralympic winter games.

12. Rice-Eccles 

It is situated in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was designed by FKKR Architects with a capacity of 51.444 viewers. This is a part of the University of Utah and has an accommodation facility for the guests which looks into the stadium bowl.

View showing the backdrop of mountains_https://www.blocku.com/2018/11/14/18096342/utah-athletics-unveils-plans-for-expanded-rice-eccles-stadium
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Materials like tinted glass, red sandstone, white steel structure are noticeable on the facade. The staircase tower on the exterior has sandstone facing in contrast to the other portion of the stadium. Visual connectivity with the Salt Lake Valley, the stadium bowl is maintained throughout. 

13. Fisht Olympic Stadium

It is located in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia is an outdoor stadium that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. This 40,000 capacity stadium is designed by Populous and Buro Happold. 

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It opens towards north and south borrowing great views from surrounding mountains and black sea respectively. The western and eastern canopies are enclosed with Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE) multi-layered foil cushions allowing sunlight and providing superior strength and corrosion resistance. The form of it imitates its surroundings after which it is named and the LED lighting lights up the space at night with rainbow colors.

14. Wembley

It is in Wembley, London, England hosted Gold medal matches at the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament. Designed by Foster + Partners and Populous, spectator experience was the main objective.  

Aerial View_https://igp-ag.com/en/projects/wembley-stadium-london/
Interior View_https://www.atlutd.com/news

This has a capacity of 90,000 spectators. Seating tiers are arranged in a steep manner ensuring an unobstructed view towards the arena. The retractable roof creates a comfortable environment for the spectators and maximizes the use of natural light to illuminate the spaces. It is designed aiming to adapt it to host various sporting events in futurity. The 135-meter-high arch which supports the roof is a symbol of the stadium which meliorates the skyline of London.

15. London Aquatics Centre

The London Aquatics Center is a part of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London.  Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, this indoor sports facility which hosted the swimming, diving events of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, can accommodate 17,500 viewers.  

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London Aquatics Centre_https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/london-aquatics-centre/

The planning strategies include establishing connectivity with the surroundings by Stratford City Bridge and extending the Olympic park abutting the canal. The sinuous form of the roof enclosing the pools of the center is inspired by the organic geometries of water. To unify the Olympic park and reflect the fluidity, riverside landscapes are created.


Manya is an architecture student pursuing her Bachelors and loves to explore, learn and grow.She believes in divergent thinking which made her passionate about Research and writing Architecture. Graphic designing and creating pieces of Art interests her and helps her escape reality.