First up is the Guangdong Stadium in Guangzhou, China. It opened in 2001 and can seat 80,000 fans of the soccer and track & field events that take place on the grounds below. Its cantilevered roof, whose flowing profile is interrupted with sharply piercing aspects, is meant to emulate a runner breaking the tape. Even the design of the seating area is symbolic – the petal-shaped areas make reference to Guangzhou’s title of “The Flower City.”
The Burj Al Arab Hotel Helipad in Dubai, UAE doesn’t necessarily qualify as a stadium, seeing as it has no area for viewers, but it certainly fulfills the “unique” criterion. Suspended 650 feet in the air, this breathtaking (for those of us leery of heights) pad hosted the 2005 Dubai Championships in tennis. I’m curious as to whether or not there is any street traffic below the court – can you imagine getting clocked with a tennis ball dropped from 650 feet? Like many stadiums, this lofty pad serves multiple purposes: when the Helipad’s not in use as a tennis court, guests in the adjoining hotel can catch a helicopter ride to the airport… for a mere $2700.
If you’re not into playing up in the air, what about over the water? The Float in Marina Bay, Singapore offers just such an opportunity. It opened in 2007 and will be converted to a stage for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Youth Olympic Games this year. The field sits atop a 33,000 square foot steel platform, kept afloat by 200 pontoons.
Bringing it back to the US is the Ingalls Rink in New Haven, CT. Known as the “Yale Whale,” this hocky stadium was designed and built in 1958 by Yale grad Eero Saarinen. Saarinen also designed the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Ingalls Rink seems to take visual inspiration from the undulation of snow slopes… a fitting connection for the ice rink inside.
And finally, (my favorite), the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. This 14,000 seat sphere opened in 1989 and hosts Sweden’s national men’s hockey team… oh, and the Swedish version of American Idol. It’s the largest spherical building in the world and, are you ready for the best part?, it serves as the “sun” in a 1:20 million to-scale model of the Milky Way. “Planets” from this model can be found throughout Stockholm and the rest of Sweden. 144 skylights in the Ericsson Globe let in views of the actual stars. Now, how cool is that?
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: architecture, daily dose, Eero Saarinen, Ericsson Globe, Guangdong Stadium, Ingalls Rink, linkedin, sports, stadiums, The Burj Al Arab Hotel Helipad, The Float |