Arquitectura Viva
Friday, November 27, 2020

Football Stadiums for Brazil 2014

With the stands put in place at the last minute, workers still picking up their tools, and lingering echoes of the all-year protests against the US$15 billion investment on an event that lots of Brazilians consider dispensable, the FIFA World Cup kicked off on 12 June in São Paulo with a rather lackluster ceremony which not even Dilma Rousseff attended.

Much of the criticism has been directed at the stadiums – twelve in all, the most ever in the history of the World Cup –, which together have cost over US$3 billion, an amount increased by endemic corruption, bad planning, and even the life of eight workers. Although the budget has not been particularly high, compared with other infrastructures, many in Brazil believe that such an investment would have borne more fruit in fields like health, education, or transportation, and that the world attention and the picture of economic progress that events of this kind give do not tally with the reality of a country afflicted with serious socio-economic problems.

Yet the Brazil World FootBall Cup does leave a handful of iconic works. Six of them are new, from the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá, built by the local office GCP with certified wood, to the Itaipava Arena Pernambuco in Recife by Fernandes Arquitetos, set deep in a neighborhood of close to 5,000 dwellings, passing through the Estadio das Dunas by Populous in Natal; the Arena of São Paulo by Aníbal Coutinho, and the Arena Amazônia – surrounded by the lush forest of Manaos – and the National Stadium in Brasilia, these two by Gmp in collaboration with the engineers of Schleich Bergermann und Partner. This German consortium is also responsible for the renovation of Brazil’s most emblematic stadium, the Maracaná in Rio de Janeiro —whose roof has been replaced by a light membrane of fiberglass and Teflon held up by several tension rings— as well as for Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, completed in accordance with a project by BCMF Architects. Wrapping up the list are works by local practices, such as the Arena de Baixada in Curitiba, the Arena Fonte Nova in São Salvador da Bahia – scene of the Spanish debacle, Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre, and finally the Castelão, the first stadium of this event to earn a LEED certificate. 

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