The world's 10 best-designed sports stadiums

Soccer City Johannesburg

Design: Populous

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Soccer City Johannesburg, designed by Populous

Photo: Chris Gascoigne

This stadium was build to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first time the event had taken place in Africa.

Soccer City Johannesburg, designed by Populous

Photo: Chris Gascoigne

The challenge for designer Populous was to create a new state of the art stadium that would act as a symbol for modern African culture and, crucially, meet FIFA's technical requirements. The design had to work around an existing historic stadium, and so theproject called for the right balance of renovation and rebuilding.

Soccer City Johannesburg, designed by Populous

Photo: Chris Gascoigne

The facade is made up of a specially designed cladding system, developed as fiber-cement panels that could be produced using locally sourced material. This gives a unique African flavor to the facade of the building. The pot is punctured by open panels thatprovide natural ventilation and, when the stadium is lit up, mimic the starlit African sky.

Soccer City Johannesburg, designed by Populous

Photo: Chris Gascoigne

The structural profile of the upper levels was extended all round to encircle the pitch, while the lower embankments were rebuilt, vastly improving the view lines.

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