South Africa's Soundproof Stadium For The World Cup

When the World Cup kicks off in South Africa, 69,070 soccer fans inside Cape Town Stadium will scream at the top of their lungs. But thanks to some clever engineering, the people living nearby will hear hardly a peep.

The open-air stadium sits in Cape Town's tiny Green Point neighbourhood, where residents had raised concerns about crowd noise. To keep fans' cheers to a minimum outside the building, a design team from the German engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann topped the structure with the world's largest glass ceiling. The 37,000sq m roof consists of 9000 half-inch-thick glass panels arranged in a ring above the stands and a Teflon and fibreglass mesh suspended below the glass. Together they reflect the crowd's roar back onto the field and stands (potentially handing an advantage to the team with the loudest cheering section) to prevent noise from escaping through the roof's central hole.

The roof will also protect fans from the Cape's notoriously fickle weather. Locals joke that you can experience all four seasons in a day because of wind kicked up by the nearby convergence of two major ocean currents: warm from the Indian Ocean and cold from the Atlantic. Combined with turbulent winds spilling off the city's Table Mountain, gusts can reach more than 80km/h. The roof's concave shape deflects the wind and redirects it around the stadium. Let the games begin.

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    I am really excited to watch the soccer game and to be in the venue. It would be an amazing feeling because the place is so huge.

    Huge? Maybe for a soccer venue. The MCG has got it covered, I think. As for atmosphere, I was at the 1980 Grand Final. I and 113,460 other people took care of that quite nicely.

    Not as quiet as they would have you believe. No different from any other stadium in my experience. Will see what it's like from the inside tonight.

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