Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Completion Date: July 2009
Size: 24,510 sqm
Fabric: PTFE - Chukoh Skytop FGT-800
The Nelson Mandela Stadium became a requirement after South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The expected influx of fans and spectators would need to be accommodated in a world-class stadium – one that would reflect the pride and passion of the South African people for this monumental event.
With the eyes of the world focussing on the stadium, the design had to be outstanding both aesthetically and functionally. Apart from complimenting the beautiful location on North End Lake and Nelson Mandela Bay, it had to provide exceptional comfort and seating for over 40,000 spectators and fans. The stadium also had to include state of the art facilities, resistance to sea air corrosion and Port Elizabeth’s notoriously strong winds.
Architects GMP found inspiration in a structure requiring high wind resistance. The soft curves and sharp edges of the roof design, nicknamed the sunflower, would provide the strength of construction within its aesthetic appeal. The petals would cast shade over some five levels of cutting-edge spectator comforts, including two vast viewing screens.
Thirty-six steel trusses, cantilevered over the spectators’ area, are spanned with tensile membrane that captures the light while providing shade. A combination of Chukoh Skytop FGT-800 PTFE glass fibre fabric and aluminium sheeting covers the perimeter of the stadium, which is supported by over 2,000 tonnes of steel.
During construction, some 7,000 jobs were generated. Post construction, the urban renewal in residential and commercial areas around the stadium is showing hugely positive impacts on the already improving socio-economic situation. Nelson Mandela Bay Multi-Purpose Stadium was the first of five new World Cup stadium constructions in South Africa, three of which were supplied and installed by members of the Taiyo Group. Recognised by colleagues, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium won the lightweight Structures Association of Australasia (LSAA) award for large structures in 2009.