South Africa World Cup 2010: Greenpoint Stadium / gmp architekten

©gmp - von Gerkan, Marg und Partner Architects / Photo by: Bruce Sutherland

Greenpoint Stadium was the name of the previously stadium located in Cape Town which hosted a maximum capacity of 18,000 spectators. Designed by gmp architekten, the new Cape Town Stadium will host more than 65,000 soccer fans that will enjoy eight matches.

As a reader told us, several architects were involved in the design of the stadium. Stadium Architects JV, a joint venture comprising: gmp architekten, Louis Karol architecture, and Point Architects (a joint venture of Jakupa Architects, Munnik Visser Architects, Comrie Wilkinson Architects & urban designers, and Paragon Architects).

More images and architect’s description after the break.

The geography of Cape Town is uniquely dominated by the contrast of the Table Mountain massif and Signal Hill with the gently undulating landscape and, sorrounding it all, the Atlantic Ocean. Greenpoint Stadium is a landmark building in the parkland of Greenpoint Common at the foot of Signal Hill, and blends respectfully with the landscape as a whole.

The outer shell of the stadium has been designed as an abstract, linearly articulated membrane structure. Its unique undulating silhouette – the result of the geometry of the stadium – gives the stadium the image of a sculptural object, enhancing its integration into the existing landscape.

The lightweight membrane structure consists of extensive concave features forming a uniform, flowing façade that follows the undulations. The light-colored glass fiber mesh boosts this effect, its coloration generating depth and vitality. The translucent surface absorbs and reflects the changing atmosphere of the daylight.

Designed for both football and rugby games, the stadium has three tiers with seats for about 68,000 spectators. The angle of inclination means that all the seats have the best possible sighting of the pitch. The interior of the stadium is designed to focus all attention on the pitch, thereby generating an atmosphere of intimacy and excitement.

The roof structure is a combination of a suspended roof with radial truss systems. The undulating roof is covered with laminated safety glass, and on the inside with a diaphanouse membrane skin. The space between the glass covering and the membrane integrates technical elements such as public address system and lighting as well as offering weather protection and a sound-absorbent volume.

For all its respectful understatement, the stadium will become a distinctive feature of the city. It improves the inmediate environment of Greenpoint Common and acts as a stimulus for other positive developments in the adjacent urban structure, the surrounding district and the whole urban environment.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "South Africa World Cup 2010: Greenpoint Stadium / gmp architekten" 03 Feb 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • Lil Jimmy

    Now that’s a cool stadium…LA dropping the ball with their “mall”.

  • Dustin

    Yes I can see something like that being placed in LA… or some other US city. It seems way to bland for Africa though, where is the color? the movement? the festivity? It seems way to corporate. Like it’s some sort of business center or something.

  • Arthur

    Ok, there is to need to be “colorfull” or “festive”. That´s cliché. Let this for the african people – which I am sure will be particularly spectacular. Let the stadium be just itself.

  • Hefty

    Wow nice..
    Commendable efforts by South Africa for the world cup. Very beautiful country. I hope to be there.

  • Andrew

    where’s the section drawing??

  • Rafa

    The stadium is meant to blend in, not stand out. At night its a beautiful glowing object.

    More images, copyright free, over here:

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  • DCV

    Why do people always expect color, movement and “festivity” from everything coming from africa or anywhere “exotic”???

  • Guy

    Lets acknowledge all the architects involved AD, better then assigning the entire project to the only German partner (the others are all South African):

    Stadium Architects JV, a joint venture comprising: GMP Architects & Designers, Louis Karol Architects, and Point Architects & Urban Designers (a joint venture of Jakupa Architects & urban Designers, Munnik Visser Architects, Comrie Wilkinson (Cape) Architects & urban Designers, and Paragon Architects).

    • Henning Rasmuss

      thanks ‘guy’, as one of the directors of Paragon Architects, we have been fighting the media domination of this project’s publicity by the ‘starchitects’ GMP for a while. but it is difficult.

      • Ailion

        Ive seen the stadium and its beautiful. It is reserved in its ability to refrain from being excessive and over flamboyant. void of colour the design respects it context and takes nothing away from the colourful streets of the Boo-Kaap. It is made all the more timely by reserving its creativity to its lines, curves and materiality. I imagine the temptation to design ostentatious shouting stadiums is hard to subdue.
        I know I probably would screw it up :)

        a proud South African.


  • unpopular

    I would not overestimate the involvement of south african architects on the project. Regardless of the actual distribution of work it is undeniable that the stadium has a very german simplicity about it, that leads me to think that the creative drive behind the project came from gmp. This is a good thing too, because as it stands the stadium may be quite reserved, but will also date well, unlike ‘african pots’and giraffe steel columns.
    I would have dreaded proposals lead by most of the architects in the south african consortium, so well done gmp for showing the south african philistines the way.
    (note that i am from south africa and i know what kind of work the other architects in the consortium do)

    • Henning Rasmuss

      well well unpopular, the true story is that the stadium would have been different and worse, had it not been for the South Africa architects who mediated some of the ‘refined’ german ideas. As one of the partner architects of GMP in the local South African team, I have to say that we know exactly what we contributed, and yes, all credit to GMP for the big gestural throw and for the consistency of their design drive and vision. but without the South African local team, this stadium would have been very different and much worse. Let me just say that in the early stages, the refined membrane facade was presented to us in GMP’s Berlin office with leopard print ‘colourful’ ethnicity and they were quite serious about it. So it would be good to also look at this building and be happy for what was NOT built because of the intervention (as designers) of the South African team members. Obviously, you are not too well informed about the incredible work being done by a younger generation of South African architects – please go and find out about it.

      • Dustin

        Please try to post some of the design process on the internet if that is possible.

  • kwendakabisa

    This is in my opinion the most elegant Stadium built for the world cup in South Africa! Hope to experience it in July.

  • norm

    fabtastic stadium, i can care so much less about colour & festivity (what a belnd comment anyways)… this is very elegant day& night… and how did gmp get two stadium commissions??

    • Henning Rasmuss

      actually they got three commissions: Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth. They got them through hard work, good groundwork, and winning tenders in terms of design. And, unlike Herzog & deMeuron, actually bothering to get on the plane themselves in order to attend their own presentations in person, which some of the other world ‘starchitects’ could not be bothered to do at the time in early 2006…..

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  • Rouan

    I live about 25km from the stadium and it really is a fantastic sight driving toward Cape Town on the highway from where I live…with it being sited so close to the Ocean it really becomes a beacon around the Peninsula.

    And I agree that the whole “Africa should be festive” is becoming cliqued..Cape Town itself is our country’s biggest tourist attraction, yet it has less of a native or traditional feel than the cities up North.

    It is very much turning into a commercial/corporate City and as a people we want to move away from the whole “Big 5 / clay pots and huts” vibe, which incidentally has had nothing to do with the Cape Town culture from the start. Sure there is a lot of cultural diversity within and around Cape Town, but the focus should be on a city that is trying to prosper and move forward in World terms and not be stagnant or be tagged as just another Third World city.

    • Dustin

      I obviously can’t argue with you because I have never been to South Africa, and you live there. But I do have to disagree that festivity and color is not a sign of a third world city. Unfortunately so many cities with such a rich culture leave it behind in order to look more “Modern” or “Global”. What you end up with is a City that can be confused with any other contemporary city in the world. Most of this influence comes from the US and Canada, cities that ignore the customs of their ancestors and just build corporate.
      I live in Mexico, it is sad to see such a rich culture being denied in order to build “corporate” soulless architecture. You might be impressed with it now, but I don’t see any good coming from it. I am not saying you should paint a leopard skin facade on the building. All I am saying it that it should stand out from other stadiums in cities that don’t have such a deep culture like Africa does.

      • Rafa

        Having followed the stadium design and construction process very closely, the final product is exceptional, and a timeless masterpiece.

        Its wonderful how the architectural description of the venue is more than just architectural jargon but a reality for the spectators who have attended the first two events, myself included.

        The detailed reference to the stadium as an abstract structure, a light structure, open, light, uplifting, elegant yet memorable…these are all true when visiting the venue.

        The entire design, while neutral in some aspects is uncluttered inside and out. Wide internal concourse areas and a large podium provides magnificent views of the ocean, mountains and urban park…a feast for the eyes.

        The stadium layout is effective and simple, with the spectators and field of play action bringing the colour and atmosphere to the occasion, and not vice versa.

        The stadium seems to come alive at night, while remaining elegant and iconic, without trying to be iconic. Every seat really does feel as if its the best seat, with excellent view
        This venue captures one of GMP’s famous quote:

        “architecture that perseveres beyond contemporary trends”

  • Nicholas Patten

    South Africa World Cup 2010: Greenpoint Stadium.

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  • world cup 2010

    South Africans are spending lot of money for the world cup. We can hope that World Cup bring more opportunities and investment to South Africa

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  • Greenpoint Accommodation

    The stadium looks fantastic! Cape Town definitly has the best one!

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  • Jack

    hi guys. You can check more info about this on

  • Phillippe

    This building has a timeless rational elegance. It also works well! I watched the Portugal Korea game yesterday, 64000 spectators entered and exited the building without a glich.

  • slomian

    i absolutly love our proud 2 b a south african

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