Structural Design of the Arch and Roof of Wembley Stadium
Kourosh Kayvani, PhD, FIEAust, CPEng
Aurecon, Sydney, Australia
The aim of the new Wembley Stadium was to design and build a state-of-the-art national stadium, unlike any other in the world. The new stadium, with its elegant exposed steel structure arch, is an international icon as was the old stadium with its twin towers which was built in 1923.
The design brief required the roof not to cover the playing field which lead to one unique aspect of the roof in that it partially retracts over the seats to allow the daylight to reach all points of the pitch and thus a shadow-free playing field.
The retractable roof is formed by seven separate independently driven roof panels totalling 15,000 sqm that move in a parallel motion to the south as they "open" and stack on the top of one another when in a fully "open" position.
With the retracting roof panels all moving to the south, the roof design exploits the opportunity to have a tall, structurally efficient structure on the north side to support the north and south roofs. The solution was to have an elegant and structurally efficient arch which spans the entire width of the stadium's seating bowl (Figure 1).
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A link to view details (non-engineering) of the stadiums for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa:
Credits: The following article is adapted from
The 2010 Fifa World Cup will be played out in 10 newly built or upgraded stadiums, in nine South African cities.
Five are existing stadiums, all of which have been upgraded, with the showpiece Soccer City in Johannesburg having undergone a major upgrade. The remaining five have been built from scratch - and completed on schedule.
The stadiums are:
Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Durban Stadium, Durban
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Demolition and groundwork began in 2006, with construction of all the major facilities starting in February 2007. South Africa’s construction industry, which has substantial experience in large-scale infrastructure development, was consulted about the stadium timelines - and it was agreed that the dates were realistic.
The Optus Stadium is the brand new 60,000 seat sports stadium in Perth.
The Arup design team attended the cracking one day cricket game between Australia and England for the first major event at Optus Stadium. The feature of the stadium is the lightweight cantilevering roof that has a clean fabric membrane soffit and those huge speakers pack a punch. Unfortunately we lost the day only by a few runs but the atmosphere was great.
Metricon Stadium - Carrara, Qld.
The Carrara Stadium was originally built in the late 1980’s and played host to a number of events however the venue has traditionally been a football ground. The decision to redevelop the site came as a welcome change to many sporting fans. The redevelopment is also in line with the Queensland government’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The newly named and revamped Metricon Stadium is built to accommodate a Australian Rules football oval, world standard cricket oval, provision to allow future installation of an athletics field and international standard soccer field including all the associated corporate, media and player facilities. The Queensland Government funded project secures a future for sport of all kinds in the region, opens the possibility to world class soccer coming to the region as well as other major national and international sporting events.
As with any world class stadium the design incorporated a tensile membrane roof component. Covering 70% of the seating capacity at the venue this roof is a major part of the facilities function and aesthetics.
The Adelaide Oval is a world class cricket facility that has been the focus of a $535 million redevelopment which was completed in 2014.
The slider shows some images from a visit in July 2015.
Photo Credits: Peter Kneen
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