Taking shape in the suburbs of Johannesburg, the flagship FIFA World Cup Stadium, also known as The Soccer City Stadium, is currently the largest stadium construction site worldwide employing 3,000 personnel. Originally constructed in the mid 1980's and having hosted the first mass rally of Nelson Mandela after his release in 1990, the stadium is receiving a full refit inside and out. Heading towards the deadline of the 2010 World Cup, the Austrian firm tasked with the delivery of the exterior cladding advises that this will complete in just 80 days.
The façade, the intrinsic element of the Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners design, is constructed of fibreC glassfibre concrete panels in typical African colours. Rieder Smart Elements, the firm responsible for cladding the Zaha Hadid Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion, will deliver the façade. They have created approximately 40,000 panels of varying sizes in Austria and transported them 8,500 miles to organise them from a 'fibre camp' on-site. While the transportation can not be considered ecologically friendly, the cladding itself is known as an eco-friendly alternative to other materials with the production of fibreC having 40% less global warming potential than fibre cement panels or aluminium sheets.
The refit of the stadium will increase capacity from 80,000 to 94,700. Ten stadiums will be used during the FIFA World Cup 2010 but the new icon will host both the opening and the final matches.