World Cup 2010: The building link between UK museum designs and the 2010 World Cup final

By Culture24 Staff | 08 July 2010
A photo of a red and yellow circular stadium overlooking a lake

Soccer City Stadium (above), where the World Cup final will be held, was built by the company responsible for some of the most ambitious architectural projects in the UK

When the World Cup final kicks off in Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday (July 11 2010), it will mark the final game of the World Cup for a host of stadiums built by the firm responsible for some of the most impressive buildings in the UK.

BAM Contract UK, who were also responsible for the tournament’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, have domestic projects to their name including Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and new £50 million Transport Museum, the restored City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds and the £61 million revamp of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum among dozens of other schemes.

An overhead photo of a large football stadium

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth

It has a combined turnover in the UK of £1.75 billion, but its design expertise has been just as focused on South Africa recently, creating the pair of intricately designed arenas for the showpiece games.

Soccer City is known as the calabash (“African pot”), a recognisable object to inspire an architectural representation of the African continent. 75% of the existing stadium had to be demolished by the company to turn it into an 89,000-capacity venue with a façade made of glass fibre and an upper roof based on the colour of sand from Johannesburg’s former gold mines.

A photo of a modern ampitheatre

BAM was responsible for Leeds Arena

At the 45,000-seat Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth, the steel roof was designed to resemble the South African national flower, Protea. The £114 million venue was also the fastest completed project of its size in the world.

In the past decade the company has also built Dublin’s Aquatic Centre, Dundee’s Ice Arena and the Sports Village at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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