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  • Opening game for Europe - an architectural football journey through Poland and the Ukraine

    The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship hosted jointly by Poland and the Ukraine is an opportunity for both countries to enjoy a little of the limelight as new members of the European Union. Games will be played in cities that are of both economic and cultural importance. Inspiring images of the cities will be beamed across the world. At the same time, the cities form an attractive travel route that features not only historical buildings but, above all, also new and redeveloped stadiums that provide the backdrop for the sporting events. Many of these stadiums feature Duravit ranges that combine clear lines with extraordinary hygiene.

    The journey starts with the opening match at the National Stadium in Warsaw, designed by architects gmp. The journey’s destination is the final at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, also designed by gmp, who has now become an international stadium specialist. Whether the World Cup tournaments played most recently in Germany and South Africa, the next World Cup in Brazil or the forthcoming Euro 2012, the Hamburg-based architects are always in on the game, sometimes with spectacular buildings. The “Narodowy w Warszawie” stadium, the result of a joint venture with the Warsaw branch of JSK Architekten, Frankfurt, and the Schlaich Bergermann und Partner engineering company, Stuttgart, resembles a wicker basket with a woven façade in red and white, the national colours of Poland. This translucent layer brings together the different areas within the stadium to form a large, unified whole. The roof made of retractable membranes arranged in a circular form can be opened and closed as required. At night, the lighting integrated in the façade transforms the building into a body of light that appears almost to float.

    JSK architects were also responsible for designing the stadium in Wroclaw in Lower Silesia, the next destination on the Polish football journey. With its characteristic façade, the new stadium has already become a city landmark. Three steel rings positioned at different angles are covered with a transparent skin made of PTFE fibre glass mesh and give the façade its unique, dynamic appeal, which is further enhanced at night when bathed in azure blue, emerald green and fiery red coloured light. This effect is supported by open stands, another unusual feature of the stadium. This creates large interior spaces with open stairs and a view of the illuminated underside of the stand structure. All communal areas and two promenade levels with utilities are located on the outside. The sanitary facilities are also located here and feature products from Duravit’s Vero, Starck 3 and D-Code ranges for clear design and comprehensive hygiene.

    At the Miejski stadium in Poznan, players in particular enjoy premium sanitary facilities: as part of the redevelopment of the stadium, products from the 2nd floor, Happy D., Starck 3, Vero and PuraVida ranges were installed. These ranges boast a timeless design and high quality and thus ensure the long service life of the facilities. In addition to the renovation of the players’ areas, the home ground of the “Lech Posznan” football club also benefits from two new stands that hold an additional 18,000 spectators, as well as a new membrane roof. The “Amber Arena” in Gdansk is the crowning glory on the Polish side. With the golden yellow colour of the façade, RKW Architekten, Düsseldorf, pay homage to Gdansk’s long tradition of extracting amber. The shell made of polycarbonate panels consists of variants in six different shades. They are arranged to create a harmonious gradation of colour that becomes transparent towards the top. The support structure consists of 82 girders and is inspired by Gdansk’s shipbuilding tradition.

    In the Ukraine, the Donbass Arena is built in the East Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Designed by Arup in London, it is a truly futuristic building. With its upward flaring façade and rounded roof construction, it resembles a flying saucer. At night, this effect is further reinforced by the blue lighting of the encircling glass façade. The new stadium in the historical city of Lviv also features the effective interaction of steel and glass.

    The redeveloped Olympic Stadium in Kiev provides the architectural highlight in the Ukraine. The original stadium was built in 1936 and, during the redevelopment work, the architects at gmp respected the historical fabric with its important filigree pre-stressed concrete upper tier built in 1968: the frame of the new roof structure is detached and placed clear of the existing bowl. This most distinctive feature of the Kiev Central Stadium is encased in a new filigree glass façade, which acts almost as a kind of showcase, and is illuminated accordingly. The interior will also have an individual identity with a membrane roof structure incorporating air supports and domes of light. As part of the redevelopment, all utilities and sanitary facilities are being replaced so that the clear lines of the outer shell are extended as far as the washrooms, which feature products from Duravit's Architec range. However, the glass shell is not only visually stunning but it also serves a practical purpose: it affords visitors outstanding views of the new square and park outside and, on 1 July, also views of a city gripped by football fever.
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Category
Sports & Leisure

Architect
National Stadium in Warsaw: gmp Architekten
Stadium in Wroclaw: Architektenbüro JSK
Miejski stadium in Poznan: Modern Construction Design SP.z.o.o.
Donbass Arena in Donezk: Arup, London
Olympic Stadium in Kiev: gmp Architekten

Details
Stages of the European Football Championship 2012

Capacity
National Stadion: 58.500 seats
Stadium in Wroclaw: 42.771 seats
Miejski stadium in Poznan: 43.269 seats
Donbass Arena in Donezk: 51.504 seats
Olympic Stadium in Kiev: 70.050 seats

Website of the project
de.uefa.com/uefaeuro

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