A Soccer Stadium for World Cup 2014 is the First in South America to Achieve LEED Certification

This summer, Brazil will be hosting the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1950. It’s the perfect choice, considering Brazil has won more World Cup trophies than any other country. (Five, to be exact.) Of the twelve stadiums chosen to host the tournament’s soccer matches, the Castelão Arena in Fortaleza was first to complete its renovations, which cost over $ 250 million. The revamped structure is the first stadium in Brazil to receive LEED certification.

“The Castelão is more than just a building,” says David Douek, director of OTEC, the consultancy firm that oversaw the project. “It’s destined to be an incredible educational tool, since thousands of people will be experiencing the facility.” (Over 60,000 spectators are expected at every World Cup event this year.)

Architect and urban planner Ronald Werner of Vigliecca & Associates aimed to transform Castelão into a 21st-century building, while preserving the spirit of the original structure built in 1973. “Stadiums are modern cathedrals,” he says, “so the way they’re built has to serve as an example. The arena is a symbol of the city of Fortaleza and an important part of its history. We wanted it to feel like the same old stadium when you first walk in.”

Werner hopes Castelão will become a blueprint for designers on how to successfully manage environmental resources when planning large public arenas. 92% of the wood used in construction was FSC-certified. A significant amount of the 1,900 parking spaces is reserved for vehicles using alternative fuel, as well as vehicles that provide car sharing. The 387,500-square-foot roof is treated with a reflective material to reduce solar heat gain. During construction, 97% of waste was reused and recycled, and every sealant, coat, and paint complied with the limits for volatile organic compounds. “I’m quite proud of the technical solutions we’ve developed,” Werner says.

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Sustainably speaking, it’s a redesign that scores on every front.

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