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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

Stadiums- An Overview


Stadiums cannot be just classified as venues for organizing sports and associated events, but also a gathering spot for people with like-minded interests, a source of economical upliftment for the surrounding community, also acts as a development indicator. Most importantly stadiums represent architectural and engineering advancement.

Initially, when the concepts of stadiums came up into the play, the major focus was always given to the athletes and sports, and in today's time, the comfort of the spectators counts for a key aspect in the design.

Often these stadiums are built as iconic landmarks, defining city skylines integrated with innovative designs and strategies. Undoubtedly stadiums do play a major role in urban regeneration. The stadium at Olympia in Greece is considered the first constructed stadium in the world dated back to 776 BC.


As decades and centuries pass by, designs are evolving even though the basic geometry remains the same. A multitude of structural systems has been employed to bring out good architecture for extravagant design and construction. In this blog, we will look deeper into the concept of the stadium, and the controlling factors of a stadium design.

The concept of stadiums came into existence from the time of Ancient Greek and Roman civilization as both the communities stressed the idea of gathering and showcasing the strengths and talents. Stadiums have been considered as architectural masterpieces and focal points in their surrounding cities. One must also not forget the fact, stadiums are amazing buildings which unquestionably shaped the town and cities more than any other historic monument or structure. With the inauguration of the Olympics in 776 BC, building facilities resembling stadiums appeared in the central picture. Roman Colosseum is regarded as the first architecturally and structurally designed building representing modern-day stadiums.


Centuries passed by, minimal advancements in stadium design were witnessed until the upcoming of the revolutionary era of Architecture, the 19th century came into the script. Earlier architects had specific constraints to design as all sports types had strictly written to be followed. The increased accomplishments in the field of engineering monitored by the architectural support of innovative ideas breaking from the conventional designs led to the successful construction and completion of producing stadiums worthy enough to be remembered for another lifetime.

By the onset of the 19th century, stadium designs have become more complex, imaginative, and innovative in all terms including, the advancements in structural skeleton and materials used for the overall construction.


The popularly seen and accepted trend lately in stadium designs are movable pitches and roofs. A unique aspect of the stadium design is that it broadens from the base to the top which led to the requirement of an artificial hillside structure for facilitating appropriate view for spectators. On structural analysis of a stadium, studies say that the building works on a balance of pressures and refraction of forces keeps moving from one component to another. Arch and arenas are two structural elements invented by the Romans that still continue to be a major part of the present-day stadiums.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, stadium designs underwent numerous changes, as it is the same time period when technological achievements like television started being so accessible that it became a common household product. Which made the architects think of designs in such a way that the stadium's view gave a better experience than a home theatre match. Upgrading the seating arrangements and roofing became the primary norm in the late 19th-century stadium design. The same was also incorporated by including public restrooms and f&b outlets to enhance the whole setup.


When talking about the stadium's field layout, every sport is designed to play on a pitch in a specific design and specific dimension. Designing a stadium for different sports led to the idea of designing multi-use stadiums. Though the goal behind multi-purpose stadiums remains to increase the number of events and thereby profit, it is considered as one of the victorious achievements in the field of sports architecture.


Some of the controlling factors of a stadium are the different types of spectators, viewing distance, corners, sightlines, seating arrangements, the athlete, the owner, gate income, non-gate income, and more.

Safety, unobstructed view, proper lighting, proper playing field combined with durability and cost-efficiency, and energy efficiency are some of the top important factors to look upon while designing a stadium. Choosing a secure structure to accommodate all these needs with assuring strength is another major challenge for the concerned project architect and engineer.

"If you weren't an optimist, it would be impossible to be an architect".

- Norman Foster