When watching the Rio games, did you think about who created the venues, and what will happen to all the new sports infrastructure after the games?
Civil Engineering plays a huge role in preparation and identifying the needs, impact and changes that need to be made to the host city to ensure a great event. At the same time, the impact of the event on the city itself have to be considered. We have often heard that structures built for major sports events get later abandoned, which is far from a sustainable building lifecycle. When it comes to Rio’s sports infrastructure, sustainability was taken seriously.
From a sports venue to four schools
Some Rio venues like the Future Arena were designed for reuse, using Building Information Modeling (BIM). The Future Arena has been proudly labeled as 'nomadic architecture' and is considered one of the boldest venues built for the competitions, with an area of 1.18 million square meters. The temporary facility was first the venue for handball and goalball, and after the Paralympics it will be disassembled and transformed into four schools. Each school unit will offer room for 500 students and these will be located in three Rio neighborhoods.
Brafer Contruções Metálicas S/A, a company experienced in building information modeling, was responsible for detailing, fabricating, painting and assembly of the roof and the stands for the different sports. Because the Paralympic goalball played by visually impaired athletes will take place in the Future Arena, acoustics had to be given special consideration. This project provided a different kind of design challenge!
In case of major sports events, delays are not an option. The project schedule of the Future Arena was fast, so fabrication and assembly processes overlapped each other. The project had a volume of approximately 2,700 tons of steel, divided into 1,400 tons for the roof, 1,100 tons for the stands and another 200 tons for stairs and access ramps. The arena’s longest free span is 112 meters, and to erect the 90-meter long, 75-ton trusses, Brafer needed two cranes.
Another sustainable way to meet the requirements set by the games was reusing venues. Rio and Brazil had hosted before many huge events, such as the football championships of 2014. One football venue that was reused, again for football, was Arena Amazônia in Manaus. It was built to offer seats for 44,500 football fans and later to host concerts and other events. The Amazon Rainforest, which surrounds Manaus, and straw baskets of indigenous peoples inspired the German Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP). Martifer Construções, another Tekla user, began work in November 2012 and the Arena was inaugurated in March 2014.
Another feature typical to major sports venues is structural complexity. In the Arena Amazônia, the pitch is surrounded by a steel structure coated with translucent white PTFE membrane sheets, reducing the temperature in the stadium which is essential in the tropical climate. About 50 Martifer employees worked on design, modeling and construction management, and they used Tekla Structures first for the design of the final shape of the structural beams and later for validation. One of their biggest challenges was fabrication of the twisted and cambered beams which required exact coordinates control in more than twenty points. To manage pre-assembly and assembly, track materials during manufacturing and for logistics, Martifer combined the possibilities of their own, in-house software with Tekla to ensure that planning and control proceeded as they should.