Raising the profile of Natal through FIFA World Cup

Arena das Dunas

  • Natal, Brazil
  • 2014

CHALLENGE. The brief for Arena das Dunas was to create a ‘grand space’ for the people of Natal which would become a counterfoil to the public promenades of Brazil’s many beaches. The stadium sits within a park setting and, as well as being one of only three new stadia to be built in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup, will stage the music and cultural events of Natal. The challenge is to find a form flexible enough to accommodate all these needs, that responds sympathetically to its environment.

INNOVATION. The structure’s undulating form responds to the climatic conditions of the location, shielding the spectators from direct sunlight, while allowing main stands to catch the prevailing on-shore breezes and air to flow into the seating bowl via ETFE louvers between the stadium ‘shells’. The upper seating tiers are separated into discrete seating blocks; these ‘petals’ are linked via a continuous undulating concourse. This arrangement gives the stadium its distinctive dramatic asymmetric form, reminiscent of the sand dunes that form its backdrop.

IMPACT. Drawing inspiration from the magnificent sand dunes that dominate the city of Natal, the stadium has become known as The Stadium of the Dunes. The three elements – stadium, arena and performing arts complex – are developed as a family of forms that sit on a raised ground, with the park flowing around. Not only will this striking development raise the profile of Natal nationally and internationally, Arena das Dunas will act as a catalyst for urban regeneration.