Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades

Capacity30 000
Country Argentina
CitySantiago del Estero
ClubsCA Central Córdoba
Inauguration 04/03/2021
Construction 18/06/2018 - 15/05/2020
Cost ARS 1.5 billion
Design Enrique Lombardi
Contractor Mijovi S.R.L, Astori Estructuras S.A
Address Avenida Diego Armando Maradona 2700, Santiago del Estero, Santiago del Estero Province, Argentina

Description: Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades

The new stadium of Santiago del Estero was built in a representative, crucial spot, on the Dulce riverfront where Santiago meets neighbouring La Banda city. Already before groundbreaking the place received its municipal light rail connection, ensuring easy access to/from major transport hubs.

The vision of Santiago del Estero’s governor was to create a regional sports and event venue that would be able to welcome the country’s “selección” and international tournaments. The design tender was won by Enrique Lombardi, who decided to create an unusual, perfectly circular stadium instead of initially anticipated “rectangular” venue.

Initial plan was to create a compact “cilindro” with sections of the stands cut out to fit the field, much like in Racing Avellaneda’s stadium. Eventually, the diameter was increased so that all off the field can fit inside. The outcome is a compromise. On the one hand, fans near the corners of the field sit as close as 7 metres away from the action. On the other, those in the most prestigious west stand have the front row over 25 metres away.

However, a steep and overhanging upper tier ensures most fans have a very decent view of the field. The seating bowl is uniform, with only the main stand having a strip of 22 private boxes between both tiers and cabins on top of the upper tier.

Choosing a circular footprint is no accident, the architect wanted to create a modern coliseum that relates to the history of Santiago del Estero. It’s Argentina’s oldest city, dating back to 1553, from which expeditions establishing other settlements were departing. The nickname Madre de Ciudades (Mother of Cities), also included in stadium naming, is associated with this origin story.

The entire structure was divided into 16 sections, representing the 16 rays of sun in Santiago del Estero’s coat of arms. Thus the 16 radially-located entrances and 16 strips of darker membrane on the arena’s outer cover. The symbolism might not be direct but remains very clear as the rays reach out to all corners of Argentina.

Construction in the northern city began in June 2018 with piling, a necessary element due to proximity of water. In total, 403 piles of 21.5 metres were drilled into the ground to stabilise it. All of the auditorium is a prefabricated structure, created along a material-efficient design. The same goes for the steel dome, which uses just 1,300 tons of steel.

It’s divided into 48 vertical columns and two rings connecting them. Interestingly, the entire steel frame was created 850 km away in Villa Mercedes and took 240 truckloads to transport to the site. Scale of cooperation on stadium design and delivery is even more impressive, with companies from Uruguay (roof structure) and Peru (membranes themselves) involved. Materials were sourced as far away as France!

The stadium is covered entirely with membranes, totalling at 30,179 m2 of which 18,673 m2 covers the roof and the remainder resting on the facade. The stadium’s skin has 48 horizontal perforations, compared by the main architect to trachea, both for literal shape and the role in airflow in and out the stadium.

Initially, work was expected to last exactly 2 years but the project slipped into 2020. Then, with the pandemic ongoing and major events postponed, work was finished slowly. Official delivery took place in May but actually minor works lasted much longer. Opening took place in March of 2021, with the country’s president Alberto Fernández in attendance. The first game saw River Plate win the Argentina Super Cup against Racing.

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