The Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
In its competition brief of 2006, the city of Durban invited designs for a multi-functional stadium for 70,000 to 85,000 spectators that would become an architectural icon and city landmark.
The competition was won by Our Ibhola Lethu Consortium to build the new Durban stadium. It was responsible for the design and the management of construction. This project group comprised of a total of 32 South African architectural firms plus German partners von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) as consultant architects and Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner (sbp) as conceptual structural engineers. The Moses Mabhida Stadium was located on an elevated platform in the central sports park on the shore of the Indian Ocean. The main entrance at the south end of the 1.5km long linear park, the stadium’s gateway was symbolized to the city. The bifurcation of the huge arch formed the main entrance.
At the northern end, there was a cable car transport, which brought visitors to the ‘Skydeck’ at the apex of the arch. There was a panoramic view of the city and the Indian Ocean from here. The presence of the new stadium was flagged by the arch. It became an evocative icon on Durban’s urban skyline. The multi-ethnic population interpreted as a unifying rainbow and a representation of the national flag.
The stadium accommodated 70,000 seating for the 2010 World Cup. Beside, the multi-purpose stadium was not only FIFA requirements but also hosted the Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games. Excellent conditions for participants, journalists and spectators were offered, with VIP facilities, the President and Ocean Atriums (both over six stories high), clubrooms and 130 spectator boxes. The interaction of the circular roof structure with the triple-radius geometry of the arena generated the shape of the bowl. With the great arch, the weight of the inner membrane roof was carried. The unusual geometry of the cable system was come from the structure. To the external edge of the roof all round the stadium and the great arch on one side and the inner edge of the roof on the other, radial prestressing cables were attached.
Beside the PTFE-coated roof membrane not only received 50% of the sunlight into the arena, it also provided shade. To the outer edge of the roof, the perforated façade membrane of profiled metal sheeting was rose. A lively pattern of light and shadow was formed. Glimpses of the interior were offered. On precast concrete columns below and hollow box steel columns above, the height and angle of inclination varying around the stadium from approx. 30m with a 90° inclination to about 50m with a 60° inclination carried the compression ring and façade.
With the façade membrane of perforated metal sheeting, protection against driving rain, strong winds and direct sunlight was provided without excluding the outside world. A “maritime” color scheme for the seat shells was chosen, ranging from blue and green to ivory, paling from dark at the bottom to light on the top rows. It was inspired by the typical palette of colors of Durban’s coastal landscape. The artificial lighting of the stadium functioned to illuminate the architecture, floodlighting some parts and spotlighting or highlighting others. A line of LEDs mounted directly on the arch illuminated the roof surfaces on either side of the great arch on top. By floodlights installed on the catwalk, the rest of the roof membrane was lit from below. To put Durban’s new icon in the right light, atmospheric quality and functional efficiency blended.
German studio GMP Architekten designed stadium design for the 2010 FIFA World Cup starting next week. The modern stadium was situated in a sporting precinct in Durban on the shore of the Indian Ocean. A 105-metre arch that rises over the circular stadium was featured in the stadium building. Cable system to the external edges of the roof connected the arch. The weight of the roof’s inner membrane was carried. A viewing platform situated on the apex of the arch and could be reached via cable car. With a façade of perforated metal sheeting and a cable-tied canopy roof, on an elevated platform, there was the 70,000 capacity stadium.
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