Populous designed Arena das Dunas officially opened ahead of 2014 World Cup
The Arena das Dunas in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, which will host four group stage matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, has been inaugurated by President Dilma Rousseff.
The world’s leading sports architecture practice, Populous, designed Arena das Dunas including the landscape and masterplan of the surrounding areas. The venue, which was inspired by the coastal city of Natal’s sand dune landscape, has a capacity of 42,000 with 10,600 removable seats and has been delivered on time.
Christopher Lee, Senior Principal at Populous and Lead Architect of the Arena das Dunas commented: “Brazilians are passionate about their football and are rightly proud of their country’s unparalleled record in the World Cup.
“We have designed a stadium and a masterplan that showcases the aesthetics of the beautiful surrounding area of das Dunas and will create a great atmosphere for the World Cup 2014.”
The Dunas Arena is designed to be a multipurpose venue. The main stadium will host sports events, trade shows and concerts, and the stadium’s 22,000m2 outdoor plaza will also host events.
President Dilma Rousseff commented in the inauguration: “I was delighted by the beauty of this stadium, especially given the fact that it was delivered 3% below budget, and that it will earn the seal of Ecology,” she continued “This stadium is as beautiful as Natal.”
The first matches at the stadium took place on 26 January when the state of Rio Grande do Norte’s main soccer teams faced each other in a double round: América-RN vs. Confiança-SE for the Northeast Cup, and ABC vs. Alecrim for the Rio Grande do Norte State Championship.
The local soccer clubs ABC and América have signed an agreement with the Dunas Arenas management consortium to use the venue for their home games for the next 20 years.
“The arena is in the city centre and after the World Cup we can set up a commercial area between the access ways,” said Charles Maia, Dunas Arena director.
“In addition, we have an area where events and concerts may be held. Since the beginning, the arena was designed as a multipurpose venue that can be used year-round. Our goal is to make it profitable. The two main football clubs in the state, América and ABC, have signed a contract with us, and we have already arranged a certain number of matches.”
The arena’s design is unique. Its façade and roof are integrated and made up of 20 petal-shaped modules, designed to be higher on one of the stadium’s sides, giving the impression that the sand dunes – which are common in the region – are moving. The design also enables more ventilation and light to come into the stadium.
The petal-shaped structures of the roof are made of steel trusses, covered on the outside with aluminum tiles, with thermal and acoustic insulation. Internally, they are coated with a PVC prestressed membrane. The parts are joined by translucent polycarbonate, which allows light to come through.
The Dunas Arena’s roof was also designed to capture rainwater. Gutters collect the water and take it to nine tanks below the lower stands. As a result, up to 3,000 cubic meters may be captured and reused in the lavatories and for irrigating the pitch.
Fans going to matches and events at the stadium will notice a new standard of comfort and safety. In total, there are 21 access ramps to reach each of the four stadium levels, in addition to elevators that connect the indoor car park directly with the 39 boxes. The Dunas Arena also has four lounges that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, 25 food and drink kiosks, as well as 30 restrooms.
There are four types of seats, identifiable by varying shades of blue: general public, hospitality, VIP and Executive VIP. In addition, 521 seats are reserved for people with disabilities.
“The arena is accessible at all levels, with ramps and elevators, from the box office to the changing rooms,” said Charles Maia. “In the boxes and throughout the stadium there are accessible lavatories. There is a directional tactile floor from the external gate to the stands.”
A security team in the arena’s command and control center is able to monitor images recorded by 200 cameras with facial-recognition capability in the ground’s external and internal areas. The PA system is integrated with the stadium’s two 64 square meter screens, allowing for information and match statistics to be clearly displayed to the crowd.
Players will also notice improved match conditions. The Bermuda Tifton 419 grass species used for the pitch is ideal for the region’s hot climate, and the drainage system allows for matches to be played even on extremely rainy days.
With the first row of stands only 15m away from the pitch, fans will be close to the action. In addition, the arena’s lighting system, which uses 306 floodlights, provides uniform and consistent visibility, eliminating shadows and facilitating TV broadcasts using Full HD technology.
Note to editors:
Populous is the global award-winning sports and entertainment architecture practice that specialises in creating environments that draw people and communities together for unforgettable experiences.
Over the past 30 years, the company has completed more than 1,000 projects around the globe with construction value exceeding US$20 billion. It has worked with 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arena clients, 40 soccer and rugby teams, 120 colleges and universities, 40 convention and performing arts centre clients, 29 equestrian clients and more than 30 major events.
Populous has designed some of the world’s most famous and recognisable sporting and entertainment venues, including the Sochi 2014 Fisht Stadium, London 2012 Olympic Stadium, Sydney 2000 Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Nanjing Sports Park, Wembley Stadium, Emirates Stadium, Soccer City, Royal Ascot, Silverstone circuit, the O2 Arena and the redevelopment and roof of the Centre Court at Wimbledon, as well as working on overlay design for events including Super Bowls and the Olympic Games, among others.
As the world’s leading sports architecture practice, Populous’ tradition of innovation has transformed the way people have experienced events for years. We seek to come alongside clients and help them to develop a brief that will meet, if not exceed, their expectations and then work together to turn it into a reality. Our world class specialist teams combine technical expertise with unparalleled commercial acumen in their own field, to design facilities that not only create once-in-a-lifetime memories for players and spectators, but generate ongoing financial success by maximising revenue opportunities and continually attracting new audiences.
Currently, the company is working on a wide variety of projects globally such as the 2014 World Cup, Rio de Janeiro 2016, the Olympique Lyonnais and French Rugby Federation (FFR) new stadia and several projects in Russia around the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.
Populous has 500 employees in offices around the globe (Kansas City, London, Brisbane, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Auckland, Rio, Denver, Knoxville and New York) that enthusiastically embrace the expertise they uniquely claim—drawing people together around teams, athletes, events, places, commerce, industry and ideas they wholeheartedly embrace and adore. www.populous.com
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