Stunning Stadiums of the 2014 World Cup

2014 World CupFew countries love its soccer . . . err . . . football as much as Brazil.

As host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil built or renovated twelve stadiums throughout the country at a cost of over $3.5 billion. Construction of the venues was not without its problems – cost overruns, construction delays, the deaths of nine workers, and questions regarding the long-term viability of some of the stadiums – but there’s no denying that the venues are stunning, and for a country known for its beauty as well as beauties (think the Girl From Ipanema), dare I say even sexy:



1. Estádio do Maracanã (Constructed 1950/Renovated 2013)

City: Rio de Janeiro

Capacity: 74,738

Cost: $470.6 million

Architect: Fernandes/Arquitetos Associados

Contractor: Odebrecht Infraestrutura, Andrade Gutierrez

Noteworthy: Estádio do Maracanã (which to me, looks a bit like the front of the USS Enterprise) is the granddaddy of the twelve World Cup stadiums and is the largest stadium in South America. Originally constructed for the 1950 World Cup, Estádio do Maracanã has seen its share of famous people including Pele, Frank Sinatra and the Pope. Alcides Ghiggia, who scored Uruguay’s winning goal in the decisive final game of the 1950 World Cup, once said “Down through its history, only three people have managed to silence the Maracana: the Pope, Frank Sinatra and me.” Humble guy.


Estadio Nacional

2. Estádio Nacional (Constructed 1974/Renovated 2013)

City: Brasília

Capacity: 69,349

Cost: $627.5 million

Architect: Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

Contractor: Andrade Gutierrez

Noteworthy: Located in Brasília, the federal capital of Brazil, Estádio Nacional fits in perfectly with the modernist architecture of this young capital city founded in 1960 which was planned and developed by urban planner and architect Lúcio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is the most expensive stadium ever built in Brazil. One worker died during its construction.



3. Arena de São Paulo (Constructed 2014)

City: São Paulo

Capacity: 62,601

Cost: $367.5 million

Architect: Anibal Coutinho

Contractor: Odebrecht Infraestrutura

Noteworthy: Located in an economically depressed area of São Paulo it is the hope that Arena de São Paulo will reinvigorate the area. The exterior facade of the stadium is the world’s largest LED stadium screen measuring 37,000 square feet. Three workers died during construction of the stadium and a stop work order was issued. As a result, the roof of the stadium will remain uncompleted at the time of the 2014 World Cup.


Estadio Castelao

4. Estádio Castelão (Constructed 1973/Renovated 2012)

City: Fortaleza

Capacity: 63,420

Cost: $232.4 million

Architect: Vigliecca & Associates

Contractor: Galvão Engenharia/Andrade Mendonça Consortium

Noteworthy: Built in 1973, Estádio Castelão was the first of the twelve stadiums being built or renovated for the 2014 World Cup to be completed and one of only a handful that was delivered on time and within budget. As was the case with each of the twelve World Cup stadiums, all of which have applied for LEED certification, sustainability was a key component of the renovation. Nearly 36,000 tons of concrete generated from demolition was recycled and reused to pave the new car park at the stadium.


Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Mineirao Stadium.

5. Estádio Mineirão (Constructed 1965/Renovated 2012)

City: Belo Horizonte

Capacity: 58,170

Cost: $311.5 million

Architect: BCMF Arquitetos

Contractor: Consórcio Construtor Nova Arena

Noteworthy: Although an older stadium, with the addition of nearly 6,000 solar installed on its roof with a capacity of 1.4 MW, Estádio Mineirão is the first ever World Cup stadium to be powered solely by solar energy. The stadium will use about 10% of the energy generated by its PV system with the rest being transferred to the grid.


Estadio Beira-Rio

6. Estádio Beira-Rio (Constructed 1969/Renovated 2013)

City: Porto Alegre

Capacity: 43,394

Cost: $147.9 million

Architect: Hype Studio Arquitetura

Contractor: Andrade Guitierrez

Noteworthy: Estádio Beira-Rio, nicknamed “the Giant of Beira-Rio,” is the largest stadium in the southern part of Brazil. Sitting along the bank of the River Guaiba, the stadium’s name, Beira-Rio, literally means by the river or waterfront in Portugues. Home to Internacional, fans of the team donated bricks, cement and iron for its construction, and would even leave the team’s existing arena, Estadio dos Eucaliptos, whenever the team was a losing and head to Beira-Rio to cheer the builders on. Now that’s what I call support. My personal favourite of the twelve stadiums.


Arena Fonte-Nova

7. Arena Fonte Nova (Constructed 2013)

City: Salvador

Capacity: 51,900

Cost: $309 million

Architect: Schulitz Architekten, TETRA Arquitetos

Contractor: Odebrecht Infraestrutura

Noteworthy: Replacing the old Salvador da Bahia stadium, Arena Fonte Nova boasts one of the lightest stadium roofs at just under 100 pounds per square meter. The stadium’s roof, in addition to being light is also functional, and is made of Teflon coated PTFE and designed to channel rainwater into storage tanks which is used for the toilets in the stadium. Extensive use was made of construction debris from the old stadium. The stadium earned LEED Silver.


Arena Pernambuco

8. Arena Pernambuco (Constructed 2013)

City: Recife

Capacity: 42,610

Cost: $238.7 million

Architect: Fernandes/Arquitetos Associados

Contractor: Odebrecht Infraestrutura

Noteworthy: Arena Pernambuco has its own solar power plant which generates 1 MW of solar power and is part of a research and development program on solar power in Brazil. The exterior facade and roof is made using Fluon ETFE film with an LED membrane that allows it to be lit up with different colors.


Arena Pantanal

9. Arena Pantanal (Constructed 2014)

City: Cuiabá

Capacity: 41,112

Cost: $255 million

Architect: GCP Arquitetos

Contractor: Santa Barbara, Mendes Júnior

Noteworthy: Cuiabá, known as the “Southern  gate to the Amazon,” is in an area known for its flora and fauna. Sustainable building practices were used throughout the construction of the Arena Pantanal, which has earned the stadium the nickname “O Verdãoor “The Big Green,” with wood coming from certified sources and construction debris being reused in the construction. The stadium earned LEED certification. The stadium has an adaptable structure that can be reconfigured to reduce its size to host a variety of events such as concerts and exhibitions. On a darker note, two construction workers were killed during its construction.


Arena da Amazonia

10. Arena da Amazônia (Constructed 2014)

City: Manaus

Capacity: 40,549

Cost: $300 million

Architect: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

Contractor: Andrade Gutierrez

Noteworthy: Located in the world’s largest tropical rainforest, most of the building material for Arena da Amazônia, including 6,700 tons of steel, had to be taken by boat up the Amazon River. Because of the extreme heat along the equator where the city of Manaus is located the stadium’s seats are made of a special plastic that does not fade in the searing equatorial sunlight. A beautiful stadium, some believe that the stadium is too grand for an area not particularly known for its soccer. 


Arena das Dunas

11. Arena das Dunas (Constructed 2014)

City: Natal

Capacity: 39,971

Cost: $179 million

Architect: Populous

Contractor: OAS

Noteworthy: Of course, for us Americans, Arena das Dunas is noteworthy as being the stadium where the United States beat Ghana in it first match during the 2014 World Cup. Perhaps the most unusual looking of the 2014 World Cup stadiums, the stadium’s design is inspired by the famous sand dunes that the city of Natal is known for.


Arena da Baixada

12. Arena da Baixada (Constructed 1999/Renovated 2014)

City: Curitiba

Capacity: 49,631

Cost: $146.4 million

Architect: Carlos Arcos Arquitetura

Contractor: CYD, Schlaich Bergermann und Partner

Noteworthy: Arena da Baixada is the oldest venue to host matches during the 2014 World Cup and sits at the location of the original stadium built in 1914. Despite its historic roots, Arena da Baixada is considered to be one of Brazil’s most modern and best-appointed stadiums. As part of its most recent renovations, the stadium was to have a retractable roof but, due to construction delays, it couldn’t be built in time for the World Cup. Indeed, due to delays during construction, the stadium was at risk of being excluded from the World Cup. Among the stadium’s features is a 264,172 gallon cistern for holding rainwater which is used in the stadium’s automated irrigation system.



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