Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth Building, FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Eastern Cape

Port Elizabeth Stadium Building, South Africa Arena Location & Ground Capacity

World Cup Stadiums South Africa

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth FIFA World Cup 2010
photograph © Marcus Bredt, Berlin

There are ten stadiums in the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa Five of them are new, including this one:

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Design: Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Holger Betz of gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa’s largest cities, is located in Algoa Bay (Indian Ocean) in Eastern Cape Province, and is now part of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The third largest port in the country is economically dominated by its role as the principal center of the South African motor industry.

In addition, “P. E.” attracts numerous visitors from home and abroad with its extensive range of water sports, all-year-round temperate climate and proximity to important national parks.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth
images © Marcus Bredt, Berlin

With its selection as a venue for the 2010 World Cup, a new World Cup-quality stadium was needed. The quarterfinals stadium, with a crowd capacity of 46,000, is the largest venue space in P.E., and was conceived as a distinctive, new iconic landmark for the “Windy City”, as it is known.

The stadium is situated close to the center with good transport links, in the direct vicinity of North End Lake, a hitherto neglected part of the city with otherwise poor infrastructure. Lying between the sea and the lake with enormous development potential, it was a location ripe for the sports park scheme that has been developed. Apart from hosting football and rugby matches, it offers a variety of opportunities for water sports and cycling.

As a leisure centre, it has a unique environmental quality and multifunctional capacity the city has hitherto lacked. As a freestanding building, the stadium is situated on a raised podium in direct proximity to the lake, in the middle of the gently moving topography of the park. The stadium springs like a flower from the ground, offering a unique image with its reflection in the water.

Its silhouette is notable for the curves of the roof girders and clear configuration of the concrete primary structure below, which forms a two-storey colonnaded gallery. This runs round the entire stadium, and is open to anyone visiting the park on non-match-days.

The glazed suite level marks the horizontal termination of the colonnades on which the roof girders rest, their tips running down to floor level in the lounges. From here they unfurl upwards like leaves, towards the middle of the stadium. The geometry of the roof is tailored to local conditions, and protects the crowd not only from the sun but particularly from the frequent strong winds.

The distinctive design of the roof results from the alternating arrangement of clad girders and areas of membrane stretched between them. An external top chord with an elevated ridge was used to give the girders a more dramatic look. The PTFE-membrane zones in the intermediate fields are divided into two zones by a valley cable, producing an alternating pattern of rib shapes and hollows that is reinforced by the alternation of materials.

The aluminum cladding of the triple parabolic girders is perforated in the lower area, giving varying degrees of transparency so as to allow VIPs and circulation areas a spectacular view of the park, lake and sea while still providing the necessary sun screening.

The clear articulation of the exposed roof trusses is obvious from the inside. The alternation between opaque and translucent roof coverings produces an interesting interplay of light and shadow in the interior.

During the day, the membrane areas provide natural illumination beneath the roof. In order to soften the lines of shadow on the pitch, the translucent part of the roof membrane was maximized towards the inner edge of the roof. On the inner edge of the roof, an encircling edge beam links the tips of the girders to form a platform for the technical equipment.

Here, maintenance access, floodlighting and installations are located above the roof membrane and so are not in direct line of view from below. The installations for the stands are thus reduced to acoustic and surveillance equipment and integrated into the roof structure. The inner roof termination features as a sharp edge.

Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth Stadium South Africa Port Elizabeth Stadium
images © Marcus Bredt, Berlin

The two-tier stadium has a deep lower tier rising in a gentle parabola. At mid-height, it has openings leading directly to the external gallery. Inner circulation routes provide visitors with easy access to all service areas and somewhere to stretch their legs. The upper tier above the box level with the corporate entertainment gallery is divided into two zones, so as to allow flexible subsequent use of the intermediate floor thus created at upper gallery level.

This will be used for event space of varying sizes while also providing a number of extra boxes, needed particularly for rugby matches. These rooms have fully glazed fronts facing the pitch, while the perforation of the roof covering offers magnificent views and good environmental quality.

The remaining rows of the upper tier are accessed diagonally by wide stairways. Whereas the geometrical simplicity of the primary structure radiates calm clarity, the rounded stands of the arena offer optimal views of the pitch and guarantee a highly charged atmosphere. The design fulfills all functional, technical and climatic conditions, but at the same time takes cultural aspects into account.

Typical building materials that are available or used locally are reinterpreted in the color schemes and materials used. The dark red of the brick paving used for the access areas of the park and round the stadium is continued in the various shades of red of the seating inside and the polychrome slate floors of the VIP areas.

During the day, the white roof rests on the fairfaced concrete of the primary structure like a lightweight garland of petals, while at night, with its large backlit membrane areas, it looks like a huge storm lamp. The façade enclosing the colonnaded gallery at the side of the stadium forms the backdrop to this vision, providing a symbolic reference to the man whose name adorns the stadium and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

With a graphic use of sayings by Nelson Mandela, the gallery (it is over 700m long) is interpreted as a “long walk” in the sense of sporting ambition and Fair Play among equals. The construction of the Nelson Mandela Bay Arena has given Port Elizabeth a high-quality sports facility that will revitalize a whole section of the city.

That increases the chances that the stadium will be optimally utilized after the World Cup as well. All the press and office areas of the arena can for example be converted to facilities for sports and leisure use and voluntary work, while the area between the stadium and the water can be used for lakeside relaxation.

A new cycle path round the stadium and lake rounds off the leisure facilities in the sports park, so that the district around Prince Alfred Park will attract visitors day in, day out as a place welcoming public space.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium South Africa Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium South Africa Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium South Africa
images © Marcus Bredt, Berlin

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Building Information

Competition: 2005 – 1. Preis/1st prize
Design: Volkwin Marg und and Hubert Nienhoff mit with Holger Betz
Project leaders: Holger Betz, Silke Flaßnöcker Staff (design) in alphabetical order Alberto Franco Flores, Robert Hormes, Martin Krebes, Burkhard Pick, Tobias Schaer Staff (execution) alphabetisch in alphabetical order Margret Böthig, Martin Krebes, Michèle Rüegg, Susan Türke, Carl Christian Wentzel
Cooperation: with DBA Architects, Port Elizabeth; ADA, Johannesburg; GAPP Architects, Cape Town; NOH Architects, Port Elizabeth

Structural concept and design roof: Schlaich Bergermann und Partner – Knut Göppert mit with Lorenz Haspel
Structural engineering: SDD8E Joint Venture, Port Elizabeth; KV3, Cape Town; Exstrado, Cape Town; Iliso, Port Elizabeth; BKS (Pty) Port Elizabeth
Electrical engineering and fire prevention: Clinkscales Maughan-Brown, Port Elizabeth
Sanitary and ventilation engineering: WSP Consulting Engineers, Cape Town
Landscape design: NOH Architects, Port Elizabeth
Project management: BKS (pty) Ltd/BTKM-PMSA, Port Elizabeth
General contractor: Grinaker LTA/Interbeton

Client: Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Port Elizabeth
Bauzeit / Construction period: 2007-09
Gross floor area: 50.000 m²
Tiers 2
Seats 46.000
VIP boxes 49
Business seats 2.390
Places for wheelchair users 80
Places for press 125
Underground parking places for cars 96
Length of stadium 267m
Width of stadium 207m
Height of stadium 40m

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa images / information from gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg
Boogertman Urban Edge and Partners in partnership with Populous
Soccer City Stadium image : Boogertman Urban Edge and Partners / Populous
Soccer City Stadium

Five new football stadiums will be built for the World Cup
Green Point stadium, Cape Town (rebuilt) Mbombela, Mpumalanga Moses Mobhida (former King Senzangakhona Stadium), Durban (rebuilt) Nelson Mandela Metro, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, Peter Mokaba stadium, Polokwane, Limpopo (rebuilt)

South African World Cup Stadium Capacities

South Africa football stadium capacities

95,000 : Soccer City, Johannesburg
70,000 : Moses Mobhida King Senzangakhona Stadium, Durban
68,000 : Green Point stadium, Cape Town
60,000 : Ellis Park, Johannesburg
50,000 : Nelson Mandela Metro, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
45,000 : Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
40,000 : Mbombela, Mpumalanga
40,000 : Peter Mokaba stadium, Polokwane, Limpopo
40,000 : Royal Bafokeng stadium, Rustenburg
40,000 : Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein

South African World Cup Stadiums

Port Elizabeth Stadium architects (consultant) : von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp)

More information online re South African World Cup Stadiums soon

Location: Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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