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11. July 2016

Stade de France: Metallic mesh as backdrop

The greatest success story of French soccer was written in the Stade de France – not far from the Basilica of Saint Denis, where all French kings found their final resting places. Several times a year, some 80,000 soccer fans make the pilgrimage to the Paris suburb of Saint Denis, where France won the soccer World Cup almost 20 years ago. Since the much-celebrated World Cup victory over Brazil in 1998, the French national team has lost only twelve times here in 76 home matches. Although "les bleus" failed to win the title in the final of the 2016 European Championship, millions of soccer fans throughout the world were still able to marvel at the beauty of their stadium.

Constructed for the 1998 soccer World Cup, the Stade de France is by far the country’s largest stadium and the fifth largest in Europe. Architects Claude Costantini, Michel Macary, Michel Regembal and Ayméric Zublena constructed the first multifunctional arena that also attracts large crowds of people beyond the boundaries of sport. So while the French national stadium offers space for more than 80,000 fans during soccer matches, it can also hold 90,000 people during concerts. Its elliptical layout comprises four three-tiered stands, each named after one of the four compass points – a true architectural jewel. The Stade de France also plays in the big league when it comes to technology. For example, the bottom tier can be retracted around 15 metres on air cushions to provide more space for track and field competitions. However, it gets its unmistakable appearance from its woven skin made of GKD Omega 1520 stainless steel mesh, which visually brings together the distinctive rib-like design. Woven with various degrees of transparency, it plays with the effects of opaqueness and transparency. The interaction of light and sun makes the shimmering façade a real eyecatcher, even from great distances. The metallic mesh from GKD combines attractive aesthetics with important functionality in the form of stable and weather-resistant fall guard protection. At the same time, its natural ventilation and use of daylight make a key contribution to creating a pleasant atmosphere for players and spectators alike. A total of seven matches at the EURO 2016 tournament were played at this venue – including both the opening match and the final, which the Portuguese were able to win in extra time.


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