Thursday, April 06, 2006


I knew that Bayern Munich had a new stadium and suspected that it would be used for this summer's World Cup. However, I didn't know how striking its design was until I saw a post about it on the architecture blog Tropolism.

The stadium will host the opening game of the World Cup between Germany and Costa Rica (good luck, Ticos), Tunisia v Saudi Arabia, Brazil v Australia and Ivory Coast v Serbia & Montenegro. A second round match and one of the semi-finals will also be played there.

The use of light, curvature of the exterior wall and trapeziodal sections certainly make it stand-out among other stadiums. The downside to the stadium is that it was built north of Munich rather than in the city itself.

It's odd because they seemed to have copied the idea from the US of building large stadiums outside of major towns. However, currently, in the US, Major League Soccer is trying to copy the European model of building stadiums in urban areas rather than in the suburbs. We seemed to have swapped ideas.

UPDATE: In the comments, Flo and cj have posted links to more info and photos of the stadium. Thanks for the tips, guys.

Also from Tropolism, I wanted to post this picture of the new swimming center in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. The guy who writes the blog put it best: "Wacky in a way only state-sponsored architecture can be".

I like how the illuminated exterior walls cast bubble-like images out into the parking lot.

UPDATE: cj sent over a link this afternoon to an architectural review of the Allianz Arena in The New Yorker this week. The New Yorker doesn't keep links active for very long. So, here's a little clip about a part of the stadium that isn't obvious from the photos and links above.

Unlike most American stadiums, the Allianz Arena is not surrounded by acres of parking lots, and the visual approach to the arena is as meticulously designed as anything within the building itself. Parking space is embedded in a partially sunken multilayered structure, atop which is the main pedestrian entry path to the arena. The path is lined with enormous lamps that look like hot-air balloons—whimsical echoes of the façade—and it begins at a train-and-bus station, so that people who arrive by car and those who take public transportation merge together as they walk along the elevated boulevard.

When you enter the arena, you go up one of several monumental staircases tucked between the pillowy exterior and the concrete inner structure of the stadium. The staircases curve as they rise, reflecting the rounded shape of the stadium. The stairs are one of the best things in the building. You get enticing glimpses of the angular metal framework that supports the façade as you walk up, and, at night, the colored lights create a lurid atmosphere that bears a beguiling resemblance to German Expressionism: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” transported to the realm of sport.

I wish the US was playing there this summer. It would have been cool to visit. How far is it from Frankfurt to Munich?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Just to prove that I'm not the only person obsessing over this new stadium, check out this site. Somebody has built a replica out of the stadium using Legos. And a nice one at that. I particularly like the smoke coming from the supporters section behind the goal. Nice touch.


K. said...

I have been to Munich a couple times and its a great city. The new stadium is definately unusual and while I like things that are different I think this is a bit too different for me. From a planning perspective its too bad it wasn't incorporated into the downtown...the flipside of that is with a great mass transit system (which germany has) you can get away from this without causing large traffic messes.

Thought this bit of info was interesting. "a cascade of colour (white, red, blue) can be projected onto the smooth lozenge-shaped curved exterior made of inflatable ETFE cushions, depending on what team is playing at home. updates are limited to once every 2 minutes to not distract nearby car traffic."

Flo said...

I'm living near munich and I'm very surprised to see our big new illuminated stadium in your blog.
They have built the stadium outside because you will not find enough space for such a building. Also the traffic was a little problem in the past.
Illumination: There is one picture missing - they can also show the bavarian banner with the white and blue rhombs. :-) If Bayern Munich plays at home the stadium will be red. It will be blue if the Munich Lions are at home.

Best wishes from Bavaria

Flatlander said...

The fact that it has public transportation running out to it is nice. That's a big difference between the Allianz Arena and the suburban stadiums of the US.

Do you think they'll light it up red, whate and blue for the US when we are playing in the semifinals? Ha!

Anonymous said...

Maybe ;-)
I will send them a proposal.
Look at this picture - it's close to your wish.

It will be very difficult for the US boys against italy and Czechia.
I'll keep my fingers crossed!!!


cj howareya said...


This is the direct link on the Munich site:

(you may have to reconstruct the link due to line breaks)

Select the "Galerie" for some more great photos. None at night unfortunately, but a bunch in the snow -- which makes the arena look like somebody lost the biggest white down jacket in the universe.

That thing is awesome. Greal links Murf. I take it the Munich Lions are Euro NFL? Hah.

Flatlander said...

Those pictures of it in the snow makes me think of a white-walled tire gone crazy.

Flo, thanks for the finger-crossing. However, if you'd really like to do us a solid one, you could pull a "Tonya Harding" on Nedved sometime in the spring for us. How far is it from Munich to Turin? You could be home by dinner.

Anonymous said...

I will hire someone from the Mafia to do this job ;-)

Best wishes from the snow covered bavaria