South Africa World Cup 2010: Soccer City Stadium


The 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa is less than one year away. Being perhaps the most important international competition in sports in the world, we would like to start featuring some of the stadiums that will host this magnificient competition.

Soccer City Stadium is located in Johannesburg and it was originally built in 1987. Among other important events, it hosted the first massive speech from Nelson Mandela after his liberation in 1990. However, it was completely renewed for the upcoming , becoming the stadium where the starting and the final game will be played.

Designed by Boogertman Urban Edge and Partners in partnership with Populous, it will allow for 94,000 spectators to enjoy the best soccer in the world. The design of the stadium was selected from a series of concept designs ranging from acknowledgement of Johannesburg’s disappearing mine dumps; the kgotla (defined by the tree) of the African city state; the African map as a horizontal representation, which included the roof as a desert plane supported on tropical trees set within the mineral wealth of Southern Africa; to a representation of the protea, South Africa’s national flower.

The calabash, or African pot, was selected as being the most recognizable object to represent what would automatically be associated with the African continent and not any other. The calabash, or ‘melting pot of African cultures’, sits on a raised podium, on top of which is located a ‘pit of fire’. Thus the pot sits in a depression, which is the ‘pit of fire’, as if it were being naturally fired.

More images after the break.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "South Africa World Cup 2010: Soccer City Stadium" 14 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    what is it with pots and stadiums. too many ideas and concepts went into the redesign of the stadium. looks pretty cool though, which is what most people think about

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        all arenas are circular in order to maximize the seating capacity, if you were to have corners views in the corners would be minimized greatly.

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      have any of you ever been to a ‘rectangular’ stadium and had to sit in the corner? its impossible to see anything – form follows function – design the damn stadium for the spectators!

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        Yes. It’s called a basketball arena. and no one ever wants to sit in the corner seats. Plus everyone is much closer to the action in a basketball arena as opposed to a football stadium.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    With all of those cultural and political references that Populous is trying to imbibe the stadium design with, they could be forgiven for losing their way amidst the weeds of symbolism. Luckily, the design looks pretty cohesive. Too bad it is marred by the labor problems encountered during construction.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Great design worthy of hosting the finals of the Fifa 2010 World Cup. The symbolism is spot on

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s better than half the awful stadiums Populous has been responsible for in the US… I’m not sure if that’s to be taken as a compliment or not.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Unfortunately, for the US all of the good designers for Populous work in their foreign offices, which they must of allowed the US office design the stadium for the London Olympics.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Populous is the best firm for stadiums and stuff. Here they do another great job, beautiful and so on but the same question remains when talking about nations that don’t have football (soccer) for a passion: What to do with the stadiums when worldcup is over ?
    But talking about architecture, that one is great. Love it.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so what if it’s a donut, it looks cook and has an interesting form, both inside and out. As for the concept…?….

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Quite like it.
    Nice effect of the colours with the openings.
    Good reflection of the african culture.
    Looking forward to the opening match next year.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s definitely a great looking building, but enough with symbolism, it’s tacky and doesn’t add anything to the building except tackiness.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like it, but I just don`t get that “symbolism”. The Stadium looks like dozens other stadiums around the world (Allianz Arena, Baltic Arena, new Camp Nou etc). It has different facade and slightly different form but it doesn`t make it look like an african pot ;). I just don`t buy it :)

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The South African architects were Boogertman Urban Edge – I think they need more credit as the lead architects, a fantastic stadium in a great city – and incredibly site specific for a stadium.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I feel that the design is well executed, however, the metaphysical influences that are mentioned in the design statement went missing during the design process

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I, most naturally, love it.

    The symbolism is also perfectly clear to me. It’s still got to look like a stadium despite them aiming for the calabash look.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Fantastic stadium – what dont people get about the symbolism? I mean, it looks like a calabash, and African cooking pot. It will be lit up at night to look like a pot on a fire, as people all over Africa cook in their clay pots.
    I mean, there you go…

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The metaphor is culturally appropriate (tick)
    The stadium is beautiful (tick)
    The overall urban influence of the project is positive (tick)
    I really don’t understand why so many people are critical of this project. It is a massive accomplishment. I think everybody involved deserves to be proud. I am.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Well put – it’s strangely camouflaged too, the yellow matches the colour of the surrounding mine-dumps perfectly, its form dissolves into the landscape. No egocentric grand statement here (as is the case with so many other new global stadia).

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like the clading, but i dont like the shape. It would be more intresting if it was square or even had two square sides. I dont really know how to explain how it looks in my head but it would make more sense if two sides were square.

  16. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Great thinks are Coming to Africa and very nice stadium too congratulation to all south African please don’t fail Africa Good habit to all.

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    ja guys, the stadium looks pretty and i suppose thats what non architectural people who visit it to see soccer matches will say as well. i do have to say though that the concepts that drive the design of the stadium is way too symbolic

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hi i really think that is a nice piece of work been done by construction and the whole team. If it’s possible can u email me the directions from Pta/Tshwane to the soccer city stadium.

    I hope to receive any info regarding my request from you and would like to thank you in advance.

    Thanks Regards

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Junior, If you are travelling with Public transport, I would recommend u use the gautrain, its johannesburgs version of the bullet and subway and even though Johannesburg is -+ 45min – 1 hour from Tshwane the gautrain is bout 15-20 minutes to Rosebank or Johannesburg Central.
      Now here s where the good park is, South Africa has introduced a” Park and Ride” method of getting people to the as follows.It works as follows: You drive your car to designated approved Parking lots or you simply look for the sign which indicates where you can board a bus going to the stadia for free.The gautrain goes through Midrand Sandton, Rosebank which are affluent suburbs in the North of JHB and Soccer City is in the South of Johannesburg.
      If you are driving the best way would be by punching in the name Thswane as direction of departure and Nasrec(soccer city s location) in destination in gmaps.It s very accurate

  19. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Can I just say what a aid to find somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know the right way to carry an issue to mild and make it important. More folks need to learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant imagine youre no more fashionable since you positively have the gift.

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