Implement the reform of a soccer stadium using the original, almost intact structure is a challenge for the World Cup. Many managers, engineers and architects end up opting for the complete demolition and then build an entirely new arena.
However, this will not be the case of Castelão, in Fortaleza, stadium with the most advanced works among the 12 World Cup venues and that bets on the dialogue between the old frame and a modern cover to emerge as one of the most complex World Cup arenas.
Castelão, who not only will host one semi-final match of the Confederations Cup in 2013, but will also receive six matches in the 2014 World Cup, two of them having the Brazilian team, is being renovated from an innovative design of the São Paulo-based architecture firm Vigliecca & Associados, in conjunction with the World Cup Secretariat of the State of Ceará.
The project of the Fortaleza arena works as follows: the old frame is reused and, around it, 60 steel pylons support a new roof, fitting with the old concrete structure.
"So the problem with the vibration from the bleachers is solved," said Ronald Werner, one of the architects of Vigliecca & Associados and directly responsible for the project of Castelão. "The cover will help the existing structure to function better," he says.
The pylons work independently in relation to the Castelão frame, but since they are distributed between the ground support and the concrete structure and cushioned by a hinge fixation system, they eliminate the movement of the structure.
The installation of the columns began in March this year. At this time, more than half of the 60 pylons have been placed in Castelão.
According to the engineer Flávio D'Alambert, specializing in structures and author of the structural design of the Castelão stadium, the biggest challenge of the project was to achieve a balance between the efforts in the various pylons.
"Since Fortaleza is constantly swept by winds, some parts of the coverage will be pressed, while others will suffer pullout strengths," he explains. Thus, the cover is designed to withstand winds up to 110 km per hour.
The Ceará "armor" has even been tested at the Institute for Technological Researches (IPT), in Sãao Paulo, last year.
Inside and outside the stadium
In addition to the trussed pylons and cover with metal sandwich tiles (two faces of metal and isolating foam filling), the interventions in the World Cup stadium in Fortaleza include the lowering of the lawn by four meters and a new ring of lower bleachers.
Outside the field, Castelão will have parking lots for 1,900 cars, the additional headquarters of the State Department of Sports and a 70,000 m2 square of access to the stadium.
"We used the irregular topography of the land to create this new high square, a kind of plateau.And from the plateaus, we created accesses throughout the stadium through ramps, facilitating the evacuation of the public," Werner explains.
To build the parking lots, the Department of Sports and the square of access, which have already been concluded since the beginning of the year, the State Secretariat of the World Cup in Ceará (Secopa) used a thousand prefabricated concrete pieces. In all, 36% of the Castelão complex are being done with these pieces, all made in its construction site.
"It is important to produce the pre-molded pieces on the construction site because we have control over them, as well as we can ensure quality in its finishing," the press office of Secopa explains.
After concluding the first two steps of the work on time, the government of Ceará and the construction consortium, formed by the construction companies Galvão Engenharia and Andrade Mendonça, work to complete the third stage, currently with half of its execution concluded.
It's what Secopa calls the center building, which will serve as command center for the entire Castelão complex, but that can be understood as an entirely new section that will house the 52 corporate boxes, press area, VIP areas and television studios, as provided in the contract specifications of FIFA.
To build this noble sector of the Fortaleza arena, the architects and the construction consortium had to make an exception in the architectural design and demolished the old west bleachers of the stadium, the only sector of the old structure that had to come down.
The architect Ronald Werner explains: "Instead of spreading the corporate boxes and VIP areas in the existing structure, which would require many adaptations, we just imploded all this part and fit a new section in the stadium," he said.
"So, all these modern requirements of FIFA will work compactly. This generated savings and convenience for the work.” The delivery of the building where the corporate boxes and VIP areas will be housed is planned for September, but the construction consortium may anticipate the deadline.
Finally, the fourth and final phase of the Castelão work, "which deals with the completion of the entire project and interaction between the steps," according to Secopa, has almost a third of its works completed and should be concluded by the end of year.
Currently, the construction site of the Ceará stadium has 1,400 workers in nine work fronts. The number should rise to 1,800 in the peak of the works, in July.
Once it is done – the forecast is next December –, Castelão will be one of the four biggest arenas in Brazil, with a capacity of 67,000 seats. The total cost of the work is R$518 million, an amount that provides the readjustment of the sporting square as well as includes all the works of the surroundings.