Arena das Dunas

Natal, Brazil
Opened in 2014
The sweeping curves of Arena Das Dunas have created an iconic landmark in Brazil’s northern city of Natal. One of three brand new venues built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it stands out as much for its sustainable innovations and economical construction as it does for its sleek form.

Built to host four matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Arena Das Dunas had a capacity of 42,000 for the tournament, with 10,600 removable seats for post-tournament use. The stadium has since become a focal point for music, culture and sport in the vibrant coastal city of Natal. 

Arena Das Dunas is undeniably beautiful, with an undulating curved form inspired by the enormous sand dunes that act as its backdrop. The facade and roof are integrated and arranged around the seating bowl as 20 petal-shaped modules, which are higher on one side of the pitch than the other. This asymmetrical layout creates the stadium’s striking profile, but the shape is about more than aesthetics — it’s a true triumph of form and function, responding to the local climatic conditions. The taller petals shield spectators from direct sunlight, while capturing the prevailing onshore breeze to cool the crowd, with air flowing into the seating bowl through ETFE louvers between each petal.

The roof also harvests rainwater through a series of gutters, which lead to nine tanks beneath the lower stands. They can store up to 3,000 cubic meters of water, to then be reused in the stadium’s toilets and to irrigate the pitch, which has itself been specially prepared for the climate. Bermuda Tipton 419 grass was used because it’s perfectly suited to deal with the high temperatures of Natal, while an extremely efficient drainage system means the pitch remains playable, even during a heavy thunderstorm.

Set within parkland and with a 22,000-square-meter outdoor plaza, the stadium has become a hub that attracts all kinds of events, from trade shows and markets to concerts and football matches, revitalizing this area of the city and raising the international profile of Natal.  

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  • Christopher Lee Senior Principal, Managing Director – EMEA London

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