Notwithstanding the corruption scandals, construction delays, and dubious evictions, there is one very good reason for futebol-mad Brazilians to feel good about hosting the 2014 World Cup. In Brasilia, the national capital, two young architects are on a mission to build the world's first LEED Platinum soccer stadium.
The 70,000-seat Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, designed by Ian McKee and Vicente Mello, will offer an inspiring glimpse at a greener future for large-scale sports events.
"Stadiums of events past in Brazil have traditionally left behind a herd of white elephants, structures that were horribly expensive to build and maintain and which afterward never got used," McKee says. "We felt we absolutely needed to break this trend. So our goal became to build a stadium that would meet FIFA’s needs, that could serve as the best multi-purpose arena in Brazil and that would meet the absolute highest, most reputable and most difficult Green Building level certification in the world: LEED Platinum."
The building's green features read like a laundry list of the most advanced sustainable technologies around. The stadium roof is coated in a photocatalytic membrane that actually neutralizes air pollution on contact, while over 169,000 square feet of solar panels will generate enough energy to power 1,000 homes a day. All of the materials from the older, demolished stadium are being used to build the new one. And the whole arena can be put into "sleep mode" when it’s not in use, adding towards an estimated $4 million savings in annual operating costs.
"We aren’t there yet," says McKee, "but we’re giving it our all because we believe that the pursuit [for LEED] itself serves as a change agent. Nowhere on the planet have so many people have been involved in green building large infrastructure projects all at once. I think this is causing massive change in the industry."
Images: Castro Mello Arquitetos