Venue for the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, and one of Brazil's main tourist attractions, the Maracanã Stadium reopened its doors on Saturday (April 27th) for the first test event after two years and eight months of renovation. The Rio de Janeiro State government is in charge of renovating and adapting the Maracanã sports complex. This is one of the commitments assumed by the local, state and national governments and FIFA for the upcoming international competitions. The State Department of Construction Works and its associated company Empresa de Obras Públicas - EMOP, an agency in charge of public works - are responsible for planning and managing the renovation carried out by the Consortium Maracanã 2014, made up of the contractors Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez.
Following FIFA's recommendations and requirements, the state government has drawn up a project for modernizing Maracanã in accordance with the highest level of engineering sophistication. With the high average of 100 events per year, Maracanã will host important soccer tournaments and other sports, as well as cultural, events.
The stadium, inaugurated on June 16, 1950, is undergoing a wide range of structural interventions, which will provide greater comfort and safety to the fans, while maintaining its original design. Initiated in August 2010, the renovation is transforming Maracanã into a modern and comfortable arena with numbered seats. The new five-story arena is divided into four sectors: north, south, east and west.
The renovation focuses on:
In modern stadiums, the bleachers should be closer to the playing field. All spectators should have a clear view of the field with no obstructions or visual barriers. At Maracanã, the bleachers have been brought forward towards the field, allowing the fans to watch the matches from a privileged position and, as in US and European stadiums, from much closer to the field. The blind spots have been eliminated. The new bleachers are now steeper and continuous, with unified upper and lower sectors. The distance between the first row of seats and the field is as little as 14 meters. In the past, at some points, it reached 30 meters.
Seats and comfort
Altogether, there are 78,838 seats. The division into sectors allows the fans to know exactly how to reach the bleacher area, which helps them enter and exit the stadium quickly and conveniently. The five different types of seats, with nine shades of blue, yellow and white, were distributed among the stands, special chairs, premium chairs, boxes and the grandstand. All of the 50-cm-wide chairs are comfortable and retractable. The seats were designed according to the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT). There are also seats for overweight people and for people with reduced mobility and their caregivers.
Each ticket sold will indicate the access route to the specified seat number.
The boxes also have been moved from the top of the stadium to the intermediate level. The 110 boxes occupy two floors on the west side and one on the east side. Each box is 50 m2 on average and is air conditioned. The boxes are equipped with private restrooms and chairs in a private, unroofed area.
Thanks to new access routes, the audience will have many alternatives to enter and exit Maracanã. Four new access ramps were built along the stadium ring and two monumental ramps - Bellini and Uerj - have been renovated and put into service. In addition, there are 17 new elevators and 12 escalators. The total evacuation time is eight to twelve minutes, as determined by FIFA.
The ramps are wide and have non-slip floors, improving safety for the fans, especially those with disabilities. The VIP areas, located on the first floor, and the 110 boxes, located on the second and third floors, as well as the grandstand and the press boxes, on the upper floors of the west side, will also be served by escalators and panoramic elevators. For the first time, Maracanã will have escalators available for fans inside the stadium. The VIP areas will be reached through the ramps of the east and west sectors (statue of Bellini and Uerj), which will be equipped with turnstiles. Once they have passed through the turnstiles, the fans will enjoy a large gathering area with large screens, and bars and restrooms.
The new 68-meter roof is made of fiberglass and Teflon, while the original concrete roof was 30 meters long). As Maracanã has an elliptical shape, 5% of the seats have no roof over them. Technical criteria determined this calculation. The tensioned canvas - supported by a steel structure - is resistant and expected to last 50 years. The steel structure holds equipment such as four high-definition 100-m2 projection screens. The walkway that surrounds the whole roof and is accessed by four smaller ones will be for maintenance work.
The new roof of Maracanã will also collect rainwater for non-potable reuse in the restrooms. This is part of the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) awarded to projects that present high environmental and energy performance in compliance with international standards.
About 50% of the rainwater that falls on the stadium will be collected by the roof and drained by a vacuum suction system into 60 concrete gutters that are part of the stadium structure. The water will then be taken up to two underground reservoirs furnished with water treatment filters. From there it will be sent to the restrooms.
The playing field will be lit by 396 floodlights that eliminate shadows and make visibility perfect in the entire field. Each of the 396 projectors uses 2,000 watts.
In addition, the stadium will have 23,500 lighting fixtures.
The new Maracanã will have a festival of colors thanks to the LED lighting controlled by computers. One hundred and ten tones will be projected on the stadium roof to identify the fans of each team playing on the field.
The stadium is now equipped with a high-quality sound system with 78 speakers on the bleachers and field and 3,860 in the internal areas.
Besides the four electronic scoreboards, Maracanã now has 360 46" TV displays and 64 time displays.
Restrooms and bars
In all, 292 restrooms and 60 bars were built on the five floors. Besides now having more bars (the old stadium had 24), they are now located close to the restrooms, which have 1,222 toilets, 969 sinks and 857 urinals.
Another innovation is an advanced control center of quality similar to those operating in the best sports arenas in the world. At Maracanã, the so-called BMS (Building Management System) will consist of three rooms. One room will monitor images generated by 360 cameras spread all over the stadium and control the 46" TV displays in order to ensure the safety of all spectators.
From the control center, it is possible to detect in the crowd a fan with a suspicious attitude and monitor his/her movements. If the fan starts a fight or tries to enter the field, the nearest police officer will be called to prevent these actions.
Another room will control all mechanical and electrical equipment, such as lighting, ventilation, power, fire and security systems. As soon as a problem is detected anywhere in the stadium, such as fires, elevator issues and power outage, engineers and maintenance personnel will be able to take action very quickly.
The third room will monitor the sound and video systems to broadcast the matches.
As determined by FIFA, the playing field area was reduced from 110 meters long by 78 meters wide to 105 x 68.
Lawn and drainage
Maracanã has a new lawn. The grass called bermuda celebration, from the US, was grown on a farm in the district of Sampaio Corrêa in Saquarema, east of Rio de Janeiro, and is the most suitable species for the stadium and the city's climate. The cultivation lasted the time necessary to enable its rooting in Maracanã, whose land has the same fertilized sand as the farm.
Altogether, 9,000 m2 of grass were planted in an area similar to that of major stadiums in Europe, such as Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands, Santiago Bernabeu, which is the Real Madrid stadium, and Camp Nou in Barcelona.
After a one-month period of adaptation and settlement on the new field, the lawn has received the goal and playing field lines. Each goal is 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters high.
The lawn is irrigated by sprinklers embedded in the soil. Operated by individual commands, the sprinklers are equipped with moisture sensors. Maracanã is the first stadium in Brazil to use this system.
The drainage system is one of the most modern in the world, with a flow rate of 230 mm of water per hour, twice the average rainfall rate recorded from December to January, a period of highest rainfall rates in the region, considering the rates of the past ten years of 110 mm per hour.
The new Maracanã features four locker rooms located on the west side of the stadium. Separated by the mixed zone, there are two sets of two lockers. The locker rooms are spacious and comfortable, with 1,800 m2 of building area, equipped with high-quality furniture and equipment. The locker rooms were placed below the field level in the west. Now they are on the ground floor.
Each locker room is equipped with two 8-seat whirlpool bathtubs, 12 individual showers, 26 sustainable-wood lockers, one 46" LED projection screen and five sinks with mirror, among other fittings. A warm-up area is covered by synthetic grass flooring.
Next to each of these areas, there are independent facilities for the referees. Players of both teams and the referees will enter and exit the field through a single tunnel.
The mixed zone, unprecedented in Maracanã, is an extension of the main entrance of the stadium. The spacious mixed zone features six LED screens, seven security cameras and one digital clock.
The parking facility offers 328 parking spaces, 135% more than before the renovation.
The façade was given its original gray color.
Maracanã is being prepared to be the main stage for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and a reference in sustainability. The soccer stadium renovation and upgrading project is not only about the comfort and safety of the fans. Transforming the Jornalista Mário Filho Stadium into an environmental heritage, with solutions for saving natural resources such as water and electricity, is also a major concern.
The new Maracanã will receive environmental certification. The design follows the Green Building Council Brazil's LEED system (Leardership in Energy and Environmental Design) awarded to projects that present high environmental and energy performance in compliance with international standards.
For example, Maracanã has water saving devices, as well as rainwater collection, storage and reuse systems. The water that irrigates the playing field is also collected and reused to reduce consumption by 30%. Energy-efficient lamps , lighting fixtures and equipment, as well as photovoltaic panels installed on the roof, will produce clean energy equivalent to the consumption of more than 200 homes, and will prevent about five tons of CO² from been released into the atmosphere.
Maracanã received a modern lighting system with LED lamps in 23,500 low-maintenance and long-service-life lighting fixtures. Economical air conditioning equipment, efficient mechanical pumps and solar energy to heat the locker room water are also part of the modernization project and will provide an 8% reduction in electricity consumption in the stadium. Photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof compression ring - about 2,500 square meters - to generate 670,000 kW/h per year. The implementation of this project, funded by the local utility company Light and EDF (Electricité de France) will supply 25% of the energy required to operate the stadium.
The stadium has a modern set of ten integrated electronic systems to ensure a successful event, maximum security and smooth operation: