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Fabric roofing with an exposed field

Exteriors | June 16, 2014 | By:

Meeting the requirements set by FIFA for the 2014 World Cup stadium in Salvador, Brazil.

Drogba, Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo and more have stepped onto the pitch to play the beautiful game at the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. But before the games began, a lot of preparation went into making the stadiums suitable for the worldwide event.

Birdair Inc., through its subsidiary Taiyo Birdair do Brasil Ltda., was asked to design, supply and install the roof of Fonte Nova Stadium in Salvador, Brazil.

Fonte Nova, originally constructed in 1951, underwent a complete makeover in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was rebuilt beginning in 2010. Arena Fonte Nova is modeled after its predecessor, and includes an opening on the south end for a view of Tororó Lake.

The modernization of the stadium had to meet certain criteria set by FIFA, including a natural grass pitch and covered seating. The roof needed to cover the horseshoe shaped three levels of seating, while allowing the pitch area to be exposed to the elements.

Joseph Gray, senior project manager at Birdair, said Sheerfill II®, a product from Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, was used for the roof to cover the 50,000 seats.

“This particular fabric membrane was ideal because it’s translucent, allowing natural lighting in the seating section while offering superior weather protection and a long life with minimal maintenance required,” Gray said.

Sheerfill II® is made of fiberglass and polytetrafluoroethylene. The PTFE, Teflon® coated woven fiberglass membrane protects the spectators from direct sun and rain. It is lightweight and requires few support columns, making it a good choice for a stadium roof.

Gray said working on such a large-scale project does leave you with a good feeling.

“It’s always exciting (to be) a part of world events and then knowing the product you supplied will be there for decades to come,” Gray said.

Arena Fonte Nova hosts six matches throughout the World Cup.


Owner: Fonte Nova Negocios E Participacoes S.A. FNP
General Contractor: Consorcio Arena Salvador (CAS)
Engineer: RFR Ingenieure GmbH
Stuctural Steel (fabrication & install): Martifer Construction Maroc
Design, Fabrication, Supply of roof: Birdair Inc.
Installation of the PTFE membrane roof: Taiyo Birdair do Brazil

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