This year's most expensive and perhaps most bizarre stadium were both opened last week, so it's worth the read. If you like this form of weekly roundup, be sure to subscribe!
It's been a busy week in the stadium world, but due to photo shortages we still haven't been able to show you everything. For the time being here are last week's highlights and keep in mind that if you haven't seen updates on a topic you're interested in, you can always contact us with tips, photos and other info and we'll get to it when possible!
Our first piece of news has to be Atlanta. The $1.6-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium is finally open for business and it offers much more than the record-breaking price tag. It's also got stunning architectural and engineering features, including the first ever opening roof that operates like a diaphragm. Created with 8 ETFE-covered petals, the roof moves just above the world's largest stadium screen and that's still not the end of the list of features. Then again, for that price you should expect setting new standards!
Then we land in Turkmenistan, a country we visit once every blue moon. And even then only virtually, not in real life. Still, there's one update so huge we have to give it to you. It's the head. A white horse's head weighing 600 tons and mounted on top of the new national stadium in Ashgabat. All at the heart of a 147-hectare Olympic complex, built for immense amounts of money and with similar scale of controversy. We've also added the second best stadium in Ashgabat, named fittingly the Ashgabat Stadium. It's as quirky as Turkmenistan itself, but both of the new additions are worth your time.
In terms of future development by far the most impressive announcement came from Christchurch, New Zealand. The city destroyed by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 is expected to get a world class stadium, one that might include a solid dome and retractable field. This means capacity would vary between 25,000 and 40,000 and make it the most versatile event venue in the country. Although it would come at a price that still hasn't been secured, estimated at almost $500 million.
In Paris we're just under 2 months away from the opening events at U Arena. France's most modern event venue is almost ready for action and its operator decided to remind everyone publicly that it's NOT a sports stadium. With 25 large concerts, 80 large business events per year and just 16 games it's indeed more about concerts, but for us it's still a sports venue. Apparently the IOC thinks so too, because it will be a 2024 Olympic venue.
In Germany it's been a mixed week. On the one hand the roof membrane replacement ended successfully in Stuttgart, where Mercedes-Benz Arena is now shiny and white. On the other, in Cologne it was bad news about the chances of expanding current stadium to fit the desired 75,000 people.
And finally, let's not forget the Croatian story from Rijeka. Stadion Rujevica saw a third grandstand built in a hardly believable time of just 72 days! Of course the paperwork preceding construction lasted much longer but that doesn't make it less impressive for us, still quite an achievement.