Tag Archives: Stadiums

Stadion Dziesięciolecia, Warsaw

Remembering the Rich History of Stadion Dziesieciolecia, Warsaw

Stadion Dziesięciolecia, Warsaw

A gleaming new National Stadium has just been erected in Warsaw, Poland. It stands in a historic spot, on the former grounds of Stadion Dziesięciolecia (“Tenth Anniversary Stadium”, named for ten years of Poland’s new political state), built from the rubble left by the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and pictured above prior to its demolition.

Designed by renowned Polish architect Jerzego Hryniewieckiego and built in a little over a year, the bowl-shaped stadium was opened in 1955 with a capacity over 70,000, and became a regular spot for big games, athletics and significant state events.

In its final years, Stadion Dziesięciolecia was left derelict.

Stadion Dziesięciolecia, Warsaw, Poland

Tenth anniversary stadium, Warsaw

Stadion Dziesięciolecia has a rich history worth remembering, one that extends beyond the games played there, though it featured some notably memorable ones. In 1961, during a poor period for the Polish national team, Poland surprisingly defeated the Soviet Union – reigning European champions at the time – at Stadion Dziesięciolecia, 1-0, thanks to a goal by the fantastic Polish forward Ernest Pohl. A rough foul on the Polish goalkeeper sparked a riot as the ambulance pulled away, bottles and umbrellas raining onto the field, and the Soviet players were attacked by a mob as they left the pitch.

In 1968, it was the location for Ryszard Siwiec’s self-immolation in protest at the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Poland’s participation in the Warsaw Pact. He set himself alight during a Harvest Festival at the stadium, with almost 100,000 people present.

Six years later, the stadium featured in a 1974 Polish movie, Chleba naszego powszedniego.


In 1983, Stadion Dziesięciolecia hosted its last official sporting event, a match between Poland and Finland. The same year Pope John Paul II held mass at the stadium. News reports suggested that somehow, more than a million Poles crammed in and around the stadium, a pivotal moment for the Solidarity movement as the stadium rang with chants for Lech Walesa and with illicit banners supporting the banned independent union flooding the stands.

In 1989, the stadium was leased by a Polish entrepreneur at the vanguard of Polish capitalism, Bogdan Tomaszewski. He turned the area around the stadium into Europe’s largest street market — Jarmark Europa — a great place to pick up a bootleg VHS, “Leevis” jeans or Russian cigarettes. In 1993, the New York Times reported from the market: “Loudspeakers blared out prices, vendors strolled through the preoccupied crowd with pretzels and sausages, and everywhere was the pressing horde of hawkers, selling used wrenches, plastic flowers, briefcases, packets of lace panties, Soviet army hats, umbrellas, vodka, tape recorders, boots, plastic toy tanks and windshield wipers.”

The stalls numbered some 4,000 around the stadium, taking in a million customers a month, divided by ethnic area, with the Russians occupying the least desirable spots, but flooding there nonetheless, heated haggling dominating the atmosphere, according to Matthew Brzezinski’s Casino Moscow. Some kind of order was kept by the 100+ security guards Tomaszewski had hired to patrol the market that ringed the crumbling stadium.

Market at Tenth Anniversary Stadium, Warsaw

Market at Warsaw national stadium

The stadium’s field itself became known as a good place to catch a casual game of football, but nothing more to suggest use of its original purpose. Now, it is a memory.

Albeit, a memory replaced by spectacular gleaming steel and glass, one the world will see when Warsaw’s new National Stadium hosts the opening game of Euro 2012 in June.

New National Stadium, Warsaw

Photo credits: Down Under Photography; efhgcvno; Markus Kolletzky; the vPunch; jaime.silva

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The World Games Stadium and Eco-friendly Stadia

This month the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan hosted the eighth edition of the World Games, a summer sports festival for events not on the Olympic program. The center piece of the games were not the sports themselves, but the 55,000-seat main stadium named for the event.

The World Games Stadium was designed by renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito. The stadium, which has a legacy capacity of 40,000 and opened in May, is notable for the fact that it’s snaking roof — meant to invoke images of a dragon — is completely covered in solar panels that generate enough energy to not only power the stadium, but allow the stadium to sell excess power back to Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung World Games Stadium

Kaohsiung World Games Stadium

While I am delighted by the idea behind the stadium I can’t help but scratch my head and ask, “Why didn’t anyone else think of this?” Of course, Basel’s St-Jakob Park does have some solar panels, but not nearly enough to power the entire stadium, let alone create an excess that can be sold off or given to the municipality.

St. Jakob Park, Basel. Courtest ahdigital on Flickr.

St. Jakob Park, Basel. Courtest ahdigital on Flickr.

In the West we have been searching for ways to make our cities more efficient and find better use of our land — why has it taken so long for environmentally-friendly stadia to be constructed over here?  Stadia in the United States surely take up more resources than anywhere else, as many of our cities have domed stadiums with vast roofs that serve only to keep out weather but take up tremendous amounts of space.

It must be said, however, that the World Games Stadium isn’t the first completely “green” stadium in the world: it’s just the most noticeable. In November of 2006 Dartford FC, a modest club from Kent playing in the Ryman League, opened their 4,100-capacity Princes Park, built by the Dartford Council. Princes Park was named “Best New Non-League Ground” by Groundtastic magazine in 2006.

Rendering of Princes Park, Dartmouth

Rendering of Princes Park, Dartford

Noteworthy features of the ground are a water reclamation system, which allows the club to use rain water to water the pitch, solar panels which provide heat, and a living roof. Manchester City have also made an effort towards installing wind turbine power at the City of Manchester stadium.

But there is still a long way to go: all you have to do is look at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, a long shot hopeful to host World Cup matches should the United States bid be successful for its 2018 or 2022 bids, to see an example of grossly misused space.

Edward Jones Stadium, St. Louis

Edward Jones Stadium, St. Louis

It remains to be seen what the World Games Stadium will be used for in the future. Taiwan is very much a baseball country and the stadium is meant to host football and athletics. The national football league, the modest Intercity Football League, rarely plays before large crowds, and is certainly unlikely to fill a 40,000-seat venue. Kaohsiung itself is home to three teams in the top division, one is owned by Taipower, Taiwan’s national utility. Hopefully the stadium will serve as an example to those looking to build new venues, particularly municipally owned venues, in the future.

World Cup Stadia 2010: Soccer City Stadium

This is the third in our series of posts on the new stadiums under construction in South Africa for World Cup 2010. See our previous posts on Green Point Stadium and the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The first and last stadium we will see in the 2010 World Cup is also fittingly the most distinctive: the 91,141 capacity Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg is designed to look like an African cooking pot (calabash), by South African architects Boogertman Urban Edge & Partner. According to the official stadium website, “The façade is made up of a selection of six colours and three textures that make reference to the shades and textures of the calabash.”

Rendering of Soccer City Stadium

Rendering of Soccer City Stadium

This is not a brand new stadium, but a major renovation of the original 70,000-capacity Soccer City Stadium opened in 1989 and home to the Kaiser Chiefs, South Africa’s most popular team.

Soccer City will host the opening game, four other first round games, one second round match and one quarter-final, and the final itself.

Soccer City Stadium Construction. Photo credit:grafikcache on Flickr.

Soccer City Stadium Construction. Photo credit:grafikcache on Flickr.

You may have heard about a recent strike by South African construction workers, but this is unlikely to endanger the delivery of Soccer City by the end of the year, as it is already 90% complete, with the German-engineered roof the final stage. With 3,000 construction workers on site, Soccer City has been the world’s biggest stadium construction site for the past three years.

The dark line in the middle points to Berlin.

The dark line in the middle points to Berlin.

The dark lines on the outside of the stadium point to the other locations of the stadia being used for the 2010 World Cup, as well as to Berlin, host to the last World Cup final.

Unlike the new stadiums being built in Durban and Cape Stadium, none of the seating is temporary, raising question marks about whether the 91,141 capacity will be utilised consistently after the World Cup finals are over.

Soccer City Stadium. Courtesy Chicaism on Flickr.

Soccer City Stadium. Courtesy Chicaism on Flickr.

Soccer City Stadium does not have the incredible beachfront location of the Moses Mabhida stadium with the backdrop of the Table Mountain; it’s located a few miles from the centre of Johannesburg. The facade, though, ensures it will be the most memorable stadium of the World Cup.

World Cup Stadia 2010: Green Point Stadium

This is the first in a series of posts looking at the progress of the construction for the three new stadiums being built in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

The stadium under construction is located in Green Point, between Signal Hill and the Atlantic Ocean and close to Cape Town’s city centre. Its backdrop will be the spectacular Table Mountain. Green Point Stadium will host eight games at the 2010 World Cup, including a semi-final, and will have a capacity of 68,000 at a cost of R3 billion (approx. $400M). It is being constructed on the site of the now demolished old Green Point Stadium, an 18,000 capacity stadium home to both Santos Football Club and Ajax Cape Town.

Architectural design was led by Robert Hormes of German firm GMP Architects (the firm responsible for Berlin’s 2006 World Cup stadium), working with local architects Louis Karol and Point. Construction of the stadium began on March 26, 2007.

Architectural Impression, Greenpoint Stadium, Cape Town

Architectural Impression, Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Lead architect Robert Hormes found himself in the middle of considerable controversy over the stadium when he arrived in Cape Town, admitting to the Cape Argus in 2008 that “I had sleepless nights about whether it was the right building for the space.”

Many were concerned that the sheer size of the stadium would overwhelm the picturesque surroundings, at the waterfront and with the Table Mountain as a backdrop. Hormes’ solution was a curved design and greyish tinge with a low-hanging roof, intended to keep the building from dominating the city’s skyline. Hormes added, “We said the only straight line in Cape Town is Table Mountain so we didn’t want to create a box-shape. We needed a curve and something light to reflect the city’s attitude to life.”

Though the slow pace of early construction caused concern, progress has moved swiftly in the past year.

Herd of cranes: July 28, 2007 (Stephen Symons)

Herd of cranes in Cape Town; 21 were in use at one time. July 28, 2007.

Green Point stadium construction: early excavation (June 18, 2007)

Green Point stadium construction: early excavation. June 18, 2007.

Construction. May 2008.

Construction. May 2008.

Green Point stadium construction: mid-stage (February 2009)

Green Point stadium progress. February 2009.

Interior view, May 19 2009 (rfataar)

Interior view. May 19 2009.

Stadium from above. May 2009.

Stadium from above. May 2009.

Stadium at sunset. May 2009.

Stadium at sunset. May 2009.

Panorama of Green Point Stadium. Table Mountains in background (cyberdees).

Panorama of Green Point Stadium. Table Mountains in background. June 2009

Green Point stadium: June 18, 2009

Green Point stadium, close to completion. June 18, 2009

According to the Cape Business News, major concrete work has now been completed at the stadium. The roof is anticipated to be finished by September, and the contractors are on schedule to complete the stadium by December. 13,000 seats in the third tier will be removed post-World Cup, leaving the stadium with 55,000 seats.

Photo credits: JackySnappy2009, craig.pitchers, cyberdees, rfataar, Frankly Richmond

Soccer and Super Stadiums in North America and Europe

Super StadiumsForbes has an interesting slideshow of ten coming “super stadiums” scheduled to open in the next few years. There are four stadiums that will host soccer included, from both Europe and North America.

An accompanying article in Forbes notes the plans in MLS, though curiously fails to mention the numerous soccer-specific-stadiums that have already opened in recent years.

Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls are also building a cozy new home with 20,000 seats in nearby Harrison, N.J. The fledgling league is hoping to strike a chord with casual soccer fans by rescuing some of its teams from monstrous football stadiums—mausoleums to a soccer club playing to less than half capacity much of the time—and into soccer-only venues that bring fans closer to the action.

“The first row of seats will be just 21 feet from the touch lines, “says Red Bulls spokesman Andy McGowan, who also notes that a translucent roof will cover every seat in the house. “It will be the benchmark stadium by which all other soccer stadiums in North America are measured.”

As The Offside Rules recently noted, “Red Bull Park is pretty much a carbon copy –on the surface at least– of Austria’s Hypo Group Arena.”

The article also focuses on stadium development in Europe, discussing major developments in Dublin and Lyon and stating that “The website stadiumguide.com lists 78 new soccer venues across Western Europe that either opened recently or planned for the near future, along with a handful of others in Eastern Europe and South America. Most are scaled down models of the old giant soccer stadiums emphasizing seating rather than standing room, the better to minimize the chances for hordes of standing, leaning fans to fall and cause a crush.”

I’m not really convinced by that conclusion: given the rest of the article focuses on the economic-driven switch to more and more luxury suites and expensive seating, as one would think that’s a key factor in the decline of standing areas (not to mention the fact they’re forbidden in the top tiers of English football). Unfortunately, the writer fails to mention the redeveloped and new stadiums in Germany that have safe standing areas, or that fans in many new MLS stadiums are allowed in certain areas to stand on bleachers — dedicated standing areas would actually probably be safer than folks precariously perched on benches.

A final concern is the comment on what the writer calls the “formula” behind new development. “Build new facilities with fewer seats and more luxury boxes, charge higher prices, earn more revenue, hire better players and reap more wins. Then turn around and raise ticket prices.”

Maybe these stadiums aren’t all so super after all.

Photo Daily | November 22 | Lokomotiv Moscow

The fourth photo in our Russia series this week looks at the stadium of Lokomotiv Moskcow (Локомотив Москва), built in 2002. It features a remarkable cable suspension system to hold up a roof made of 250,000ft² of 16mm Titan structured sheet. The compact 30,000 capacity design has the locals referring to it as an “Angliya” style ground.

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