Brazil’s President Dilma Rouseff has officially inaugurated the Arena das Dunas in Natal. In his opening remarks, Rouseff congratulated the design team, lead by Populous, on 'completing the beautiful building ahead of schedule and 3% below the budget'.

Inspired by the coastal city of Natal’s sand dune landscape, the multipurpose venue is capable of seating 42,000 spectators. It features a  unique integrated facade and roof made up of 20-petal shaped modules designed to be higher on one side of the stadium to give the impression that the sand dunes are moving. 

While the design is intended to be poetic it is also highly efficient from an energy standpoint enabling more ventilation and light to come into the stadium and earning the venue the Seal of Ecology. 

The petal-shaped structures of the roof are made of steel trusses covered on the outside with aluminium tiles with thermal and acoustical insulation. Internally they are coated with a PVC pre-stressed membrane. The parts are joined by translucent polycarbonate to allow light to penetrate. The roof will also capture a predicted 3,000 cb m of rainwater to be reused in the lavatories and for irrigating the pitch.

After the World Cup, the venue will host sports events, trade shows and concerts and a 22,000 sq m outdoor plaza will also host events. In addition to bringing a new standard of comfort and safety to fans, with four types of seats, the arena features four lounges that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, 25 food and drink kiosks, and 30 restrooms. 

The first matches at the stadium took place on 26 January, when the state of Rio Grand do Norte’s main soccer teams faced off.  The FIFA World Cup 2014 officially opens on 12 June. 

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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