From the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to an ancient Greek-inspired running track, these are some of the best places to watch sport.
Tottenham Hotspur FC might be yet to win any trophies this decade, but its stadium has.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosted its first Premier League game in April 2019, and has now been named as one of the 54 winners of the 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) National Awards.
Judges called it a “tour de force in stadium design”, adding it delivered “an unparalleled experience for the multiple users of this collection of buildings”. It is estimated to have cost around £1 billion to build.
Tottenham’s stadium is undoubtedly impressive, and joins the ranks of some seriously cool places to watch sport around the world…
1. Beijing National Stadium, Kina
The Beijing National Stadium is affectionately known as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ – and it’s pretty obvious why. Built for the 2008 olympiske leker, the exterior of this stadium is made from twisting rods of steel – like a pleasingly messy bird’s nest.
The stadium is in the shape of a circle, said to represent heaven.
2. Stadion Gdansk, Polen
How many sports stadiums around the world have yellow exteriors? The unusual colour for Stadion Gdansk was chosen for a reason: it’s a nod to the Baltic Coast’s history of mining amber.
The outside of the building is rounded and smooth, to look like it’s been levelled off by the elements.
3. Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan
Built in 2009 for the World Championship Games, according to Atlas Obscura Taiwan’s National Stadium is the world’s largest solar-powered stadium. Rather than a circular or oval shape, the stadium is an open semi-circle – made to look like a curled dragon’s tail or snake, with the solar panels on the outside, resembling scales.
The shape and position of the stadium is meant to help maximise wind flow and cooling during the hot Taiwan summers, with systems in place to collect and reuse rainwater.
4. Avicii Arena, Sverige
Previously known as the Ericsson Globe, i 2021 this Stockholm landmark was renamed in honour of the late musician Avicii. It’s the world’s largest spherical building, meaning it looks more like an observatory than a sports stadium. The arena is predominantly used for ice hockey.
5. FNB Stadium, Sør-Afrika
More commonly known as Soccer City, the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg is the largest stadium in Africa. Its shape is inspired by African calabash pots, with its exterior covered in typical colours for the continent: terracotta, brown, red and dusty yellow. Lights running along the bottom of the stadium make it look like it’s being heated by a fire from below.
Using the symbol of the calabash as inspiration is meant to represent the melting pot of cultures in Africa.
6. Panathenaic Stadium, Hellas
The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens was reconstructed in 1896 in the ruins of the ancient gresk stadium. Entirely made of marble, it really just looks like an updated version of the 4th century BCE structure.
It was home to the first modern Olympic Games, hosted events for the 2004 Games and remains popular for non-sporting activities – in June, Dior held its Cruise collection catwalk show there.