Sports stadiums aren’t the first examples of sustainable architecture that come to mind, but they are leading the way worldwide. Traditionally, stadium design was based on the Roman concept of a coliseum that enclosed a crowd and riveted attention on an often bloody spectacle. Other considerations beyond structural integrity were not a priority. Over the last several years, the sustainability movement has swept the architecture and building professions and has shaped new sports stadiums into structures that are both stunning and environmentally responsible.
2012 Olympic Stadium, London
The Olympic stadium built for the London games uses minimal materials while maintaining structural integrity. The architectural firm Populous stated its intention to create a cultural legacy in a sustainable way. They used several types of environmentally sound materials in order to reduce the overall amount of building material needed, saving energy during the building process as well. The result is an arena of minimalist beauty and maximum comfort according to rave feedback from attendees of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
This visually striking stadium incorporates sustainability in design and function. It employs a cantilever roof made with triangular panels that use 50 percent less steel than a conventional cantilever design. The roof is a geodesic dome that uses special cladding to regulate indoor temperature, drastically reducing energy expense. A rainwater collection system is powerful enough to provide water to four other venues in the area and to save 500,000 gallons of water per year for the stadium alone. Designed by Cox Architects and opened in 2011, Rectangular Stadium shows that cutting-edge engineering can produce extraordinary and sustainable buildings.
World Games Stadium, Taiwan
This stadium doubles as a solar energy plant for the surrounding community. Its serpentine visual design is scaled with 8,844 solar panels that power the huge stadium, which holds 55,000 people. Built by architects Toyo Ito and opened in 2009, the state-of-the-art stadium cost $150 million to build. In a prime example of sustainable business, the stadium is recouping costs by selling solar power to the community of Kaohsiung.
New Meadowlands Stadium, New York
The New York Jets and New York Giants made a champion play when they partnered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to build a stadium that reduced waste and air pollution and conserved water and energy. The stadium, which opened in 2009, saved over 1.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide during construction. It also generated many jobs for local businesses such as new jersey concrete curbing and area landscaping and a business writing training company. Designed collaboratively by architects 360 Architecture, EwingCole, Rockwell Group and Bruce Mau Design, Inc., the project used specialty environmental products from firms such as a nj window company offering high-efficiency commercial windows. The $1.6 billion stadium expects to stay in the green in more ways than one thanks to the two environmentally responsible sports teams calling it home.
Dalian Shide Stadium, China
This stadium is still on the drawing board of Los Angeles architects NBBJ, but its bold organic statement is already grabbing attention. Foliage covers two exterior walls to create massive curtains of green. The remaining two walls can be opened to allow onlookers to see inside the building. In addition to the green design statements of natural harmony and transparency, the stadium incorporates water recycling, natural lighting and renewable energy to minimize its carbon footprint.
Top Image Credit: Atos International and
Stadium Image Credits: Dalian Shide Stadium © Archdaily; 2012 Olympic Stadium © Locog/EPA; Rectangular Stadium © Austadiums; World GamesStadium © Archdaily; New Meadowlands Stadium © Sportsroids