Grandiose, spectacular, quasi futuristic yet always functional – stadiums are increasingly turning into contemporary works of architecture, their design entrusted to internationally renowned architects. This is what has happened in Russia, where new stadiums have been built while others have been the focus of rehabilitation and updating – becoming drivers of huge urban redevelopment – in order to host the sporting event of the year: the 2018 World Cup. Which they will survive with pride.
Lužniki Stadium (Moscow)
The stadium that hosted the opening game and where the keenly anticipated final will be held is a celebration of Moscow’s architectural heritage and its most important, starting life as the Central Lenin Stadium in 1956. Monumental in style, the current Luzhniki Stadium redevelopment was carried out by local studios SpeeCH and Mosinzhproekt, respecting the original character of the layout, keeping the outer façade and rebuilding the interior. The tiers were entirely demolished. Like the original design, the helix-shaped plan is simple and imposing. The single ring of tiers encircles the pitch, creating a very powerful effect of communion and community for the fans. The exterior is in neo-Classical style, a series of square-based columns run vertically along the continuous façade around the stadium, which is almost eight storeys high. Tall narrow windows, in groups of three, are framed between one column and the next. A new colonnade has been built around the original front, supporting the new roof structure, in total harmony with the characteristics of the original façade behind it. The low, arched apertures at ground floor level serve as entry points, referencing the functional aspect of the ancient arenas. The roof canopy has been extended by 11 m, ensuring complete cover over all the seating areas, and a 900 m perimeter ring has been built at the top of the tiers, providing a walkway with a unique viewpoint from the stadium over the city. The frieze is decorated with images of athletes of all disciplines, underscoring the purpose of the stadium and the sports complex. The statue of Lenin continues to survey the entrance to the stadium at the end of the great avenue leading to the main entrance.