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7 Green and Repurposed Sports Stadiums

Creative reuse projects and green proposals give stadiums a longer life.
Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mané Garrincha (Brasilia, Brazil: 2013)

Named after a national soccer icon and located in the center of Niemeyer’s monumental planned city, Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mané Garrincha could not have been a higher profile project. Castro Mello Arquitetos rose to the challenge with the world’s first net-zero energy stadium, an impressive feat of public design and engineering considering the massive energy spikes during big events. A combination of rainwater collection, solar arrays, shading, and a photocatalytic membrane that breaks down pollution makes this a key legacy of the recent surge in Brazilian stadium construction. By itself, the soccer field generates more solar energy than 11 of the competing nations.

Photo by Wikipedia Commons

What happens to stadiums when the games are over? For an increasing number of cities around the globe, the answer has become a sad counterpoint to the excitement that comes with hosting the Olympics or World Cup. From Athens to Beijing, once-proud sites that were the focus of years of training fall out of shape, withering due to budget problems or poor planning. The current World Cup host city, Brazil, raced to finish construction after a $3.6 billion building plan ran up massive cost overruns. Now, it has to be careful if it wants to avoid a common problem: shiny new fields that get relegated to the ranks of also-rans.

Dwell previously showcased some examples of the afterlife of arenas after talking to director Gary Hustwit, whose Olympic City project is chronicling the aged infrastructure of the quadrennial games. But falling into misuse is only one possible outcome of these massive infrastructure projects. Many designers and architects have devised ways to give sports stadiums a second life, adapting old buildings or creating new ones with environmentally-minded innovations. While these sites may have to say goodbye to their days of medal ceremonies or nail-biting games, these adaptable stadium projects give them a much longer career.

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