For nearly half a century von Gerkan, Marg and Partners has been designing and constructing buildings around the world - houses, hotels, museums, concert halls, office buildings, hospitals, research and educational facilities, and stadiums.

Twelve sports arenas that have either been recently completed or are near completion are the focus of this book. Readers are taken from the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt to the Century Lotus Sportspark in Foshan China and soon-to-be completed soccer arenas in South Africa, Brazil, Poland and the Ukraine. Particular attention is paid to the South African stadiums designed for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Each project profile includes information about planning and design, and is illustrated with plans, sketches, models, detail photographs and foldout pages that allow the reader to understand the scale of each structure. An interview with Volkwin Marg, one of the firm's two founders, concludes this fascinating tour of some of the world's most exciting arenas.

The cool simplicity of the stadium's form belies the fiery trail it followed into existence. Bringing together the often contradictory views, Cape Town Stadium – between the lines describes the process of it's formation by those who have been intimately involved. In many ways the stadium is typically Capetonian in its attempt to be elegant and understated in response to often parochial concerns. Driven as much by professional opinion as by lobby groups much effort has gone into refining its shape, scale and fit. If nothing else, the stadium represents the meeting of place, time and multiple players and choices that were made: from site selection and the display of technical skill to sophisticated design considerations. Some would argue that the stadium finds itself straddling Cape Town and the global arena and that it contributes to the project of dispelling "old" myths about the "dark continent". Either way, in a time of widespread spatial contradictions, service delivery protests and urban structural problems, it is possible to reflect on the success of this landmark to boost the national project of job creation, stimulating investment and infrastructure provision, catalysed through a global sporting event. Much of the stadium is resolving the pragmatics of accommodating its function. Sensible decisions like the size of the pitch in relation to maintaining viewing lines and the organization of structure, seating and circulation arrangements for 68 000 people is the fare of the everyday and unromantic. However the stadium's architecture can be appraised in its clear conceptual thinking and how often mundane elements are put together with elegance in support of it. Within the multiplicity of narratives that have already been spun and will still play itself out; this is the telling of the story of the making of the stadium; from the inside, warts and all.

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