South Africa, Port Elizabeth 

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium


Competition 2005 - 1st Prize
Design Volkwin Marg und Hubert Nienhoff mit Holger Betz
Project leaders Holger Betz, Silke Flaßnöcker
Team Burkhard Pick, Martin Krebes, Margret Böthig, Robert Hormes, Alberto Flores, Tobias Schaer
Structural engineers SDD8E / KV3 Joint Venture; schlaich bergermann und partner, Stuttgart (roof)
Consortium BKS/BTKM-PMSA Joint Venturein
in Co-operation with ADA Architectural Design Associates, Dhiro Kalian; Dominic Bonnesse Architects; NOH Architects, Gapp Architects
Client Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
General contractor Grinkaker-LTA/Interbeton
Seats 46,000 permanent seats, 48,600 including temporary seats
Construction period 2007-2009




Marcus Bredt

Designed as a football and rugby stadium, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is located beside North End Lake with terraces and hills in the middle of Prince Alfred's Park.

The stadium is set in the surrounding area as a landmark building, rising from the edge of the lake like a flower. Located right beside the lake, the building is reflected in the water and forms a unique vista.

The silhouette of the stadium indicates the clear design of the structural members. They form a colonnaded walkway that encloses the whole stadium. The glazed lounge level forms the horizontal termination of the colonnades. The leaf-shaped roof components, the tips of which extend as far as the floor at lounge level, float above this ring and round the picture off.

The roof structure is oriented to local climate conditions and protects spectators not only against the sun but also (and particularly) against frequent, violent onshore winds. The protection takes the form of aluminium cladding carried on triangulated trusses with white PTFE membrane surfaces in the interstices. All technical facilities such as the sound system and lighting, and also the maintenance walkway, are integrated into the roof.

The stadium is designed for 48,000 spectators divided into an upper and a lower level. The rounded design of the stands provides optimum viewing conditions and guarantees an intimate, emotional atmosphere.

The design takes account not only of function, technical and climatic aspects but also cultural considerations as well. The façade, which is at the rear of the colonnading, is being finished by local African craftsmen to give a 700m-wide exhibition of traditional and modern African culture.

The construction of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium offers an opportunity to provide Port Elizabeth with a high-quality sports facility that will revitalize the whole urban area. The aim of the design is to encourage maximum use after the World Cup. All the press areas of the stadium can be turned into offices and leisure facilities. An open area will be created between the stadium and the sea offering water-based recreation. Along with the sports and leisure clubs in Port Elizabeth that will use the stadium on a daily basis, the area around Prince Alfred's Park will develop into an excursion destination.