Building the World Cup

Published on 3rd September 2017 by

A three part Discovery Channel series broadcast in 2014 in the lead up to that years FIFA World Cup tournament which was hosted in Brazil, each episode focuses on one different engineering project as the country sought to create the mega stadiums necessary to host the worlds largest and most prestigious football tournament. Three episodes, three stadiums, each very different architecturally but all facing the same problems with tight schedules, sky-rocketing budgets, and unpredictable weather conditions.

Episode 1: Maracana

The Maracana is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world, the ‘spaceship’ style design was ahead of its time, but the stadium is old having first been built for the 1950 World  Cup which was also hosted in Brazil and is need of a massive renovation. The plan was to keep its famous exterior but completely update the interior, but just two months into the work a major problem came to light when construction workers found that the steel supporting structure of the original 21,000 tonne roof had become unsafe. Engineers and architects had just three years to re-think the project, come up with a new idea and complete the renovation in time for the tournaments kick-off.

Episode 2: Corinthians Arena

The second episode charts the construction of the new $175 million Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo which was earmarked to host the opening game of the 2014 World Cup and then become home of the world-famous Brazilian club Corinthians. The cutting edge stadium would boost the latest technology including the worlds largest LED screen, a 32000 meter squared floating roof and even a temperature controlled pitch. The construction didn’t come without problems however with delays of one year causing architects and engineers to panic.

Episode 3: Manaus

The third and final episode focuses on the most controversial of the new stadium redevelopments, Manaus in the very heart of the Amazon Rainforest is the most visually stunning of the locations in the tournament but the huge new $300m Arena de Amazonia stadium has no obvious tenants post-World Cup so the stadium is likely to be laid to waste. It also presented the biggest challenges to those charged with building it, amongst those challenges are daily torrential downpours, regular power blackouts and frequent lightning strikes. A lack of roads also meant that almost every element of the stadium had to be transported by boat!

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