Sport Stadiums with Great Architecture

Sport Stadiums with Great Architecture
  • 23 September 2010
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  • This post was written exclusively for PV.M Garage by lukas
  • Comments (21)»

Sport stadiums are, obviously, big arenas were sports take place. Since tens of thousands of people are interested in watching sports live, stadiums have to be very big. And very big buildings attract attention. They’re often sights. So, good architecture is necessary to attract even more attention – to show a city’s dedication to sports and, most important, to make this building distinct from other stadiums. Because of this competition, there’s a huge amount of spectacularly designed and built stadiums. In the following round up, I put together some of them. But just because of this huge amount, I’m sure that I’ve overseen some. If you know other stadiums with great architecture, please let me know!

Soccer City

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Capacity: 94700
Soccer City is Africa’s biggest stadium. The shape and appearance of Soccer City was inspired by a traditional African pot. Its capacity was extended due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, whose final also took place there.

Green Point Stadium

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Capacity: 64100
The Green Point Stadium, officially known as „Cape Town Stadium“, The filigree skin changes its appearance with the movement of the sun, appearing blue at noon, rose in the late afternoon and red at sunset. On stormy days, it can appear silver, grey or even pewter.

Moses Mabida Stadium

Location: Durban, South Africa
Capacity: 70000
From the bird’s eye view, you can see a big arch which splits into two other, so-called spliced arches. So, all the arches together symbolize the flag of South Africa.


Location: Melbourne, Australia
Capacity: 30000
The exterior of the stadium is covered in thousands of LED lights, which can be programmed to display a variety of patterns and images, setting it on par with the Beijing National Aquatics Center and Allianz Arena.

Wembley Stadium

Location: London, UK
Capacity: 90000
The Wembley Stadium is probably the most important stadium in all football. At least, it’s one of those with the most remarkable history. After seven years and the spending of about $1.7 billions, „New Wembley“ was opened. The main element is a 133m high arch.

Emirates Stadium

Location: London, UK
Capacity: 60300
The Emirates Stadium (named after the airline) was opened in 2006. It is the home of FC Arsenal and the second biggest stadium of the English Premier League. Emirates Stadium replaced the old stadium called Highbury. Due to Highbury’s long tradition, this descision wasn’t popular everywhere.


Location: Klagenfurt, Austria
Capacity: 32000
It was newly built for the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. The extraordinary architectured stadium has also an unique position (between the lake Wörthersee and the Austrian mountains).


Location: Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Capacity: 61600
Veltins-Arena is home to FC Schalke 04 and considered to be one of the most state-of-the-art soccer stadiums of the world. The roof is fully lockable, which makes a hall out of the stadium. Before every game, the rink, which is stored in a special building outside of the stadium, is automatically moved into the arena.


Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Capacity: now 88000
When it comes to stadium legends, Maracanã is often mentioned. Especially the world cup match Brazil vs Uruguay in 1950 may be the best known match there. It’s said that over 200000 persons where watching the match in the stadium, which is a world record.

Allianz Arena

Location: Munich, Germany
Capacity: 70000
Allianz Arena is owned by Germany’s biggest soccer club, FC Bayern München. After it was opened in 2005, the colors of the unique outwall switched very often. Because Allianz Arena is visible very well from highways, every day happened ten accidents more than usual, just because of the astonishing outside. Because of this, Allianz Arena may only be enligthened half an hour every night.

Camp Nou

Location: Barcelona, Spain
Capacity: 98900
Camp Nou is Europe’s biggest stadium. Also, one of Europe’s biggest clubs plays there: FC Barcelona. It was built in 1957 by the architects Francesc Mitjans Miró, Josep Soteras Mauri and Lorenzo García Barbón. The planned reconstruction will be even bigger, and even more spectacular. Sir Norman Foster has designed a stadium that is going to have a capacity of 116000.

This is the concept for the reconstruction:

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza/San Siro

Location: Milan, Italy
Capacity: 83000
Two clubs, both considered to be the biggest ones of Italy, play in the definitely biggest stadium of Italy: FC Internazionale and AC Milan. This leads to two different names. Its architecture (although it has been built back in 1925) is due to the massive use of concrete quite controverse: Many people say it would look “old and heavy”. However, this stadium is without doubt a classic in stadium architecture.

Yankee Stadium

Location: New York City, USA
Capacity: 52000
The new baseball stadium of the New York Yankees was opened in 2009. It replaced the old Yankee stadium, whose architecture looked very similar, e.g., the granitic outwall. With $1.5 billion of building costs, the new Yankee stadium is officially the most expensive stadium of the world. The owners try to compense the costs by charging very high prices for tickets.

Beijing National Stadium

Location: Beijing, China
Capacity: 91000
The Beijing National Stadium was built for the 2008 Olympic Games in China. It was designed by the internationally renowed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who said they would wish that the Beijing National Stadium has a meaning to Beijing comparable with the one the Eiffel tower has to Paris. Because of its unique steel architecture, the stadium got nicknamed “Bird’s Nest”.

Water Cube Beijing

Location: Beijing, China
Capacity: 17000
The Water Cube was also built for the 2008 Olympic Games. It was probably (apart from the National Stadium mentioned above) the most spectacular building at the Olympics. Its outwall is constructed out of many extremely light, irregular combs – which are a few metres thick, though. The material is comparable with the outside of Munich’s Allianz Arena (which is also mentioned above). Apart from the very extraordinary look, the design has another purpose: About 90% of the incoming sunlight can be used to heat the water.

Nou Mestalla (not finished yet)

Location: Valencia, SPain
Capacity: 75000
Nou Mestalla is the new stadium of the Spanish soccer club CF Valencia. It should be opened this August, but due to problems, this date got postponed. The architects are Reid Fenwick Asociados and ArupSport. I think if you watch the video below, no more explanations about Nou Mestalla’s architecture are necessary…

Nou Mestalla

Olympic Stadium Munich

Location: Munich, Germany
Capacity: 69200
The Olympic Stadium was built for the 1972 Olympic games. It is part of the Olympic parc, whose roof architecture remindes one of many bubbles. Until FC Bayern München built Allianz Arena, they played there. Since then, the Olympic Stadium is only used for athletics and cultural events.


Location: Busan, South Korea
Capacity: 56000
Three games of the 2002 FIFA World Cup were held there. The roof is constructed like an open cupola.

Kyūshū Sekiyu Dome

Location: Ōita, Japan
Capacity: 40000
This stadium was also built for the 2002 world cup. The roof is fully lockable within 20 minutes, but still lets sunlight shine through.

Sapporo Dome

Location: Sapporo, Japan
Capacity: 42000
Sapporo Dome is a huge hall whose roof can’t be opened. Though, it was used as a world cup stadium in 2002. Even a langlauf competition was held there.

Miyagi Stadium

Location: Rifu, Japan
Capacity: 49000
Like Busan-Asia-Main-Stadium, there were also held three games of the 2002 World Cup. Because of its extraordinary shape, it could be achieved that two thirds of the seats are roofed.

Estádio do Dragão

Location: Porto, Portugal
Capacity: 51000
The english translation of Estádio do Dragão means “stadium of the dragon”. This is referring to FC Porto, which play there. The dragon is kind of their heraldic animal. Some say that from the bird’s eye view, the stadium looks like a dragon’s back. It was designed by the internationally renowed Portuguese architect Manuel Salgado. Some games of the Euro 2004 took also place there.

Author: lukas

Lukas is an Austrian writer who ldoes his best to provide quality content and original article to the community. A young, fresh and versatile mind who writes for design-related magazines and blogs. Follow him on Twitter or be his friend on Facebook if you want to know more about him

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  1. AlePerez92

    There is an error in the post, the Nou Mestalla stadium is located in Valencia, Spain. Not in Beijing, China.
    Thanks! A very interesting post!

  2. Nick

    Good point! :)

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  3. jami

    This is more like “Sports Stadiums with Great Architecture OUTSIDE of the United States”.

    Yankee Stadium is the only U.S stadium on the list? Are you kidding me? That’s the most fugly stadium in the world and built in

    Maybe you should have looked at:

    1. Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium with the world’s largest HD tv screens mounted directly over the center of the field.

    2. Qwest Field in Seattle with its open air design.

    3. Soldier Field in Chicago with its architectural marriage of old and new elements.

    And that’s just off the top of my head.

    • lukas

      You may have seen what I wrote above:

      “But just because of this huge amount, I’m sure that I’ve overseen some. If you know other stadiums with great architecture, please let me know!”

      Please don’t feel offended just because I didn’t include many U.S stadiums.

      To defend myself: I’m European, and I just know much about soccer. You may have noticed that I’ve included many soccer stadium in there. Though, there are many other great stadiums, inside and outside of the U.S.

      So, believe me, I didn’t discriminate the United States intentionally…

      Concerning the Yankee Stadium: Personally, I like it, and I’m sure many others do so as well. “Like” or “not like” is always subjective.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  4. Giacomo Colddesign

    Very interesting post!!

  5. Gina

    WOW. They look great. I wanna visit them. THAnks for sharing.

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  7. Siya

    The Allianz arena stadium is a one of the top class stadium where many high-profile matches have been played. Its architecture and lightening is distinctive and its color changing facade is enchanting. I have been there and I enjoyed very much.

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